NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will seek the extradition of a Chicago man charged in the United States with helping plan last year’s Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and raised tension with Pakistan, a top official said on Thursday.
David Headley was arrested in the United States two months ago and U.S. prosecutors charged him this week with scouting targets for the November 2008 Mumbai rampage.
The 49-year-old Pakistani-born U.S. national pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance on Wednesday.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials travelled to India this week and discussed evidence in connection with the arrest of Headley.
“... we will definitely be seeking access both for interrogation and at a subsequent stage definitely his extradition,” Gopal. K. Pillai, the top civil servant in India’s interior ministry, said.
He said evidence against Headley was being collected from different cities and charges would be pressed against him in an Indian court after about a month.
Headley travelled to Mumbai five times between September 2006 and July 2008, taking pictures and video of some places hit in the attacks as well as the port where the attackers landed by boat, according to U.S. court documents.
He then travelled to Pakistan to turn over the results of his surveillance, U.S. court documents said.
On November 26, 10 young men launched an assault on various targets in Mumbai, including the city’s main railway station, two luxury hotels and a Jewish center.
India blamed the attacks on Pakistan-based militants and broke off a peace initiative with Pakistan until Islamabad punished what it said were the planners of the assault.
New Delhi has also urged Pakistan to crack down on anti-India groups on its soil, but on Thursday the Indian foreign ministry said Islamabad had done little in that direction.
Reporting by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Sanjeev Miglani