Mumbai, Nov 18 : In a significant development, a Mumbai Sessions Court has allowed the prosecution to include Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley as an accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said on Wednesday.
“The Mumbai Police had moved an application in the Special Court seeking permission to add (his name) as an accused and the court has granted it,” Nikam said.
He said the sessions judge, G.A. Sanap, had directed Headley to be produced before it on December 10 via video-conferencing.
Nikam told the court that Headley had not been tried by any Indian court under Indian laws for his role in the conspiracy that led to the Mumbai terror attack that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead.
He argued that American courts were not competent to try offences under the Indian Penal Code and said he should be made an accused in the 2008 case here.
The police had sought the court’s permission to write to the US Deparment of Justice as Headley had been been convicted in the US and is serving a 35-year jail term for his role in the 26/11 terror strike.
On several trips to India, Headley had carried out a recce of some of the locations, including Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel Trident, that were targeted by the Pakistani terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai.
In 2009, he again travelled to India and recced more locations in other cities including New Delhi. On one trip, he became close friends with Rahul Bhatt, son of eminent film maker Mahesh Bhatt.
Headley, now 54, has also been suspected or charged with involvement in several terrorist cases around the world and had made video-recordings of some of the sites targeted in the 26/11 attack.
The development comes barely a week before the seventh anniversary of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Nine of the 10 Pakistani terrorists who carried out the attack were killed by security forces after their murderous run.
One of them – M. Ajmal Kasab – was caught, was tried and hanged on November 21, 2012 in Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail.