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Headley escaped gallows due to India's fault: Defence expert
Lashkar-e-Toiba affiliated terrorist David Coleman Headley has been awarded 35 years in jail for his role in deadly 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, in which 166 innocents died and hundreds were injured.

While awarding the sentence to the Pak-born American citizen, the US district judge Harry D Leinenweber said that this punishment was not going to deter terrorists, but to protect the innocent public from him, it was required.

Defence expert Bharat Verma said that from Indian point of view Headley should had been hanged but he escaped the gallows because India failed to act in time for his extradition. “The government did not make adequate efforts. The government and its intelligence had no clue what Headley was doing in India, while America used him because he was also one of their agents for narcotics. The US extracted maximum intelligence from him, which now India does not have unfortunately, and (the US) also got him sentenced. So India lost out in the battle and the fault lies with the India,” Verma told this citizen journalist .

Notably, India was seeking Headley's extradition and wanted him to be tried here, however, under a plea deal, the US prosecutors "had agreed not to seek the death penalty against him and to not extradite him to Pakistan, India or Denmark for the offences to which he pleaded guilty".

Mr. Verma added that India lacks political will to act tough on Pakistan and its affiliated terrorists and even if Headley was extradited, there were very less chances of swift justice and tough punishment to him.

“Even if India would have managed to extradite Headley, then it would have spent 30-40 crore rupees as it did in the case of Ajmal Kasab. I am very confident that the Indian government would have done nothing as there appears to be a very big pro-Pakistan lobby in the government, which does not allow it to take any concrete action against Pakistan.”

“If the government were capable of taking tough actions then it would have hanged Afzal Guru before thinking about Headley. How are we going to be confident that if Headley had been handed over to India, he would have met justice and aspirations of the 26/11 victim?” questioned Verma.

Headley, who was arrested in 2009, has been awarded imprisonment of 35 years on 12 counts. It includes conspiracy to aid the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, which attacked the landmark Taj Mahal Hotel and other targets in Mumbai. The US attorneys had sought between 30 and 35 years of imprisonment for Headley, during their closing arguments.

During the trial, Headley had confessed that he had undertaken numerous scouting missions for his handlers in Pakistan. He had videographed a number of targets in India including the iconic Taj Hotel in Mumbai which was later attacked.

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