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Court pardons Headley, makes him approver in 26/11 case

Mumbai: A Mumbai court today pardoned Pakistani-American LeT operative David Headley, who had surveyed targets for the 26/11 attacks, and made him an approver in the case, a move that may unravel the conspiracy behind the brazen terror assault.

“Accused David Headley is tendered pardon as per section 307 of Code of Criminal Procedure….Headley would be the prosecution witnesses in the case,” said the judge G A Sanap.

Headley will depose through video conference on February 8.

The court added that pardon was being granted on the condition that he would reveal “every fact”.

“He shall reveal all true facts leading to the conspiracy of terror attacks and also details of all the co-accused involved in this matter and crimes committed in India by him and others as per his knowledge,” the judge said.

“If (the prosecution’s) application for pardon (for Headley) is rejected, it will be difficult to bring on record the direct and best evidence in the case and hence I am inclined to accept the application,” the judge said.

From the order of the US court, which convicted Headley for his role in 26/11 conspiracy, it can be seen that the plan could not have reached its logical end without his involvement, the judge noted, saying this was one of the aspects to be considered while tendering pardon to Headley.

The conspiracy was hatched outside the country and LeT operative and 26/11 key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who is currently facing trial before this court, was Headley’s co-conspirator, but there is no direct evidence (against Jundal), the court noted.

“In this case fortunately for prosecution Headley expressed his desire to unfold the larger conspiracy of 26/11 terror attacks hatched outside India. The evidence of co-conspirator like Headley could be of immense importance in case of prosecution. It is very difficult to get such direct evidence and firsthand account of criminal conspiracy,” the judge noted.