A Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) court has made convicted American terrorist David Coleman Headley an accused in the trial of Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case.
“David Headley is accused number 2 and will be tried under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with the other accused,” Judge G A Sanap ruled Wednesday.
Judge Sanap instructed Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to ensure that Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail sentence in the US on charges of terrorism, must attend the court on December 10, the next date of Ansari’s trial. On November 4, the court framed charges against Ansari, paving the way for the trial to proceed.
Ansari is charged with teaching Hindi and Marathi to the 26/11 terrorists and is alleged to have been present in the control room in Pakistan where the planners of the attack guided the terrorists and watched their progress.
Questioned by the judge on whether Headley would be produced through video-conferencing, Nikam said, “We are making separate arrangements. We are interacting with MTNL.”
In his order, Judge Sanap noted that Headley would face charges under the IPC framed by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch in its chargesheet against Ansari. Summons will be issued to Headley through the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois to appear before the TADA court.
Judge Sanap also said a letter of request would be sent to the presiding officer of the US court and the US attorney general through the Department of Justice.
The Mumbai Police had filed an application before the court last month, asking for Headley to be tried alongside Ansari. India’s attempts at Headley’s extradition in the past have been unsuccessful.
Nikam had said in his application that the offences for which Headley deserved to be tried in Mumbai alongside Ansari differed from those for which he was convicted in the US in 2013. He had also argued that the American court did not have jurisdiction to try Headley under the IPC in spite of the conviction.
Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani parentage, is accused of scouting and video-graphing locations in Mumbai and passing information on to Lashkar-e-Taiba.