India: Was Mumbai suspect a double agent for US?
The Indian press is abuzz with news that Indian Home Ministry officials are investigating whether a terror suspect in the Mumbai attacks, David Headley from Chicago, was working as a 'double agent' with the US.
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According to the Times of India, Indian officials will also be investigating how Headley’s credit card bills were settled in American banks while the suspect was traveling through India.Skip to next paragraph
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The Hindu, an Indian daily, reports that “highly placed government sources said if [Headley] was given lesser punishment in a U.S. court, it would only strengthen India’s suspicion that he was a 'double agent'."
As Indian officials debate the role played by Headley in carrying out terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, a federal US court has ruled that Headley’s alleged accomplice, Tahawwur Rana, is to remain in detention, reports The New York Times. A judge denied Pakistani-Canadian Mr. Rana bail on the ground that he is a ‘flight risk’ with substantial resources and immigration expertise.
According to the Hindustan Times, Rana is to be charged with a direct link to a terror conspiracy, and, if convicted, could face life imprisonment. But Indian analysts fear that US agencies will want to tap Rana for more intelligence on terrorist movement rather than allowing him to go to jail in Mumbai, which many Indians want.
Some are speculating that having trapped Headley and turned him approver, the prosecution will use the 26/11 link in Monday's memorandum to do the same with Rana. He clearly dealt with retired Pakistani army officer Abdur Rehman Hasim Syed, alias "Pasha", a conduit to Ilyas Kashmiri, one of Pakistan's most-wanted terrorists. US may be more interested in forcing Rana, who ran an immigration service, to tell them if he used it to facilitate the movements of terrorists, and who and where they are.
Headley's alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks has recently strained US-India relations, a cornerstone of the ruling Congress Party's foreign policy. Last week, Indian authorities announced that they would be changing visa regulations for American tourists, requiring them to take a 60-day break between each exit and re-entry to India, reported the Hindustan Times.
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