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Saturday, December 24, 2011 (21:44:22)
Tags : National Investigation Agency, David Headley, Mumbai terror attack

26/11: NIA files charges against Headley, eight others

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New Delhi, Dec 24: Three years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) today filed charges against seven Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including Pakistani-American David Headley, and two alleged ISI officials for their role in the carnage.The charge sheet, which also names Lashkar founder Haafiz Sayeed, was filed in a special NIA court here.The Patiala House court will rule on Jan 7 whether or not to accept the charges for which the probe agency had filed a first information report (FIR) in November 2009.

"The matter is listed for Jan 7 for further consideration," special Judge H.S. Sharma said.

Headley, who is undergoing trial in a US court, has entered into a plea bargain with the American judicial authorities under which he cannot be extradited to any country, including India.

Also named in the charges are alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley's accomplice Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana, Rehman Hashmi, formerly with the Pakistan Army, and Major Iqbal and Major Samir -- believed to be working for Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

They have been charged for waging war against India.

Those named in the charge sheet are alleged to have conspired in a 'Karachi Project' to strike at select Indian targets. Indian security agencies allege the project was sponsored by the ISI.

Lakhvi is in a Pakistani jail undergoing trial for the terror attack that killed 166 people, including foreigners, when a band of 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai on Nov 26, 2008, and went on a rampage. Over 300 innocent people were injured.

The government on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the NIA, which was formed in the aftermath of the Mumbai mayhem, to file charges against the accused.

However, sources say the case in an Indian court may not be of any significance because it would not lead to the deportation of Headley, who has confessed to having surveyed potential targets in India for the Lashkar.

The NIA has based its charges on inputs from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the interrogation of Headley by a team of Indian investigators in the US earlier this year.(IANS)