NEW DELHI: India wants access to David Coleman Headley's wife in the U.S., highly placed government sources said here on Thursday.
Headley, a Pakistani-origin American citizen accused of laying the groundwork for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, is all set to change his plea to guilty before a U.S. court in a bid to get a lighter sentence.
It is learnt that India has already made the request to the U.S. authorities for gaining access to Headley's wife and questioning her. Though his wife never travelled to India or accompanied him on his visits to Mumbai and other places on reconnaissance mission, the sources felt that she could throw some light on several crucial aspects relating to Headley.
Investigators have found that Headley was accompanied by a Moroccan woman during one of his trips to Mumbai.
Sources felt that even if the court allowed Headley's change of plea to guilty, he would still face a strict sentence for 26/11 attacks as six U.S. citizens lost their lives in the terror strikes.
He had allegedly conducted extensive surveillance of potential targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the November 2008 attacks that killed about 166 people and left hundreds more injured.
In a significant development that came hours ahead of Headley's move to change his plea before a U.S. court, Director, National Intelligence of the U.S., Dennis C. Blair met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
It is understood that the two discussed issues related to terrorism emanating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Mr. Blair was accompanied by a delegation of the U.S. Secret Service and Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer.
Mr. Blair also held a meeting with Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Mathur.
Emerging from an hour-long meeting with the Home Minister, Mr. Roemer said he updated him on the “continued, very close cooperation” between India and the U.S.
Both the countries had reached a “historic understanding” on fighting the “common enemy of terrorism.”
He told reporters that the U.S. was receiving “unprecedented day-by-day, hour-by-hour cooperation” from India on counter-terrorism issues.