26/11 ACCUSED HEADLEY, RANA TO BE SENTENCED IN JANUARY 2013
NEW DELHI/CHICAGO: Americanborn Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist David Coleman Headley, an accused in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, will be sentenced on January 17 next year by a Chicago court.
The sentencing of his childhood friend and later accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana has been rescheduled to January 15 from the earlier date of December 4.
Headley had turned a witness of the FBI in the trial against Rana. "We are keenly awaiting the sentencing of Headley and Rana as our extradition request for the duo is pending before the US authorities. The extradition request was sent on October 18. We hope for a favourble decision," said a senior security official.
But Indian officials are also mindful of the realities in the two cases.
Rana was acquitted of the charge of participating in the Mumbai attack conspiracy by the Chicago court but Headley admitted to a guilty plea with the US prosecutors in lieu of the promise that neither he will not be given a death sentence nor will be handed over India, Denmark or Pakistan to face any trial. Headley admitted to all 12 charges levelled against him, including his role in the Mumbai attacks. Rana has been convicted of providing material support to LeT for planning an attack on a Denmark-based newspaper.
A Delhi court has demanded Rana and Headley's presence to conduct a trial against them.
But with the US prosecution entering into a plea bargain with Headley, a section of Indian authorities believe, it would be difficult to ensure his presence in India. The US authorities had provided India access to Headley but for access to Rana and Headley's wife Shazia, a decision is pending.