Thursday, March 18, 2010

Headley shall also be "cherished"

One of the major news that we read in the Indian newspapers yesterday was that Headley will be now pleading “guilty” instead of his earlier plea of “not guilty”.

In the American criminal justice system, defendants in federal court can be convicted one of two ways -- by pleading guilty or after a trial.

Those who choose to admit their guilt are often "rewarded" with lesser sentences.

The concept of the plea is one of the major differences between criminal procedure under common law and procedure under the civil law system. Under common law, a plea of guilty by the defendant waives trial of the charged offences and the defendant may be sentenced immediately. This produces a system under American law known as plea bargaining.
A plea bargain is an agreement between a prosecutor and defendant whereby the prosecutor provides incentive for the defendant to plead guilty in order to avoid going to trial. Plea bargains can benefit defendants by guaranteeing particular outcomes. The two most common types of plea bargains are charge and sentence bargaining, where the first type reduces the charge(s), and the latter, the sentence(s). Fact bargaining is a less common type of plea bargain.

As we know now, Headley used this same plea to escape from his earlier offense of smuggling heroine into the US soil. He was not only “awarded” but he got a perfect opportunity to tie up with the elements in Pakistan.

Mr Headley came to the attention of the US security services in 1997 when he was arrested for heroin smuggling in New York. He earned a reduced sentence by working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) by infiltrating Pakistan-linked narcotics gangs.

In fact, there are people who wonder if he was working as a double agent for US. If not, one wonders why Headley has not been given access to Indian authorities even after the Pune blast. During Headley’s “high profile visits” (he rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty of Bollywood) which happened even after the Mumbai blasts, he did visit Pune too. Recently Cochin was at high alert since the “Karachi Project” is still being manned by those who continue to run scot free.

Today the news reads thus...

Also his being proven guilty and convicted in the US courts makes him inaccessible to Indian investigative agencies.

I guess now Headley shall escape capital punishment and will now be “rewarded” with a lighter sentence.

But will his admitting to certain offense aid in getting Kazab punished or shall we have one more deadly criminal to “cherish”.



  1. Indian authorities even after the Pune blast I guess it is becuase he was under FBA custody for terrorist offence.
    I don't think he will escape with lighter sentence.Coz after 9\11 US authorties following zero tolerance for terrorism..See no major incidents are reported in US after 9/11 terror.But in India terror attacks,bomb blast is not even a news now a days
    I believe it is better US to handle him rather than handing over to indian authorties

  2. Anish: I do not think that Headley will ever be handed over to India but if he is allowed to talk to Indian authorities, it shall help in the Mumbai blasts investigation and maybe avert future such acts of terror.
    One should remember that there are still elements in India and Pakistan who continue to plot and that US will handle Headley the way it helps them.. not others..

  3. I hope there is no terror flying around Cochin. There are constant police patrols in the city. In a bollywood movie named zameen, Ajay devgan and Abhishek bachchan go to pakisthan and blast a terrorist in front of them.

    I think things should move at that level where Indian agents can find the enemies and rub them off in their locations. But until politics is LIVE nothing such would happen.

  4. I was listening to the Headley drama here on NDTV and I couldn't understand the US Judiciary... I had small ideas about their syatem, but this clause of 'pleading guilty' has blown me away.

    I feel this one to be a disgrace. So does this mean that if Osama Bin Laden pleads guilty guilty guilty on entering the US Court, he won't be sentenced to death? :P I know he wont be, but this is a farce :(

  5. In all probability, Headley will be getting a light sentence now that he has pleaded guilty.

    The reports in today's newspapers indicate that he selected the landing sites for the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

    If Indian authorities could question him, they would probably obtain the names of those Indians who helped Headley. But, as you say, it is unlikely that they will be allowed to question him.

  6. Abhi: Even otherwise Pakistan officials accuse India for the recent Lahore blasts... i think they have enough bombers with their own "ISI" marks to do the bombing...

    Scorpio: If the Indian system gets flawed from the time the first "FIR" is filed by corrupt officers, the American system itself seems to be flawed... please see the movie "Law abiding citizen" to get an idea of the same..
    I saw the same recently.. nd there have been many other such movies..

  7. Manju: Yes, US needs to allow the Indian authorities to talk to him.. else it is unfair... if it was the other way round US would have done it long time ago.. dint their agents meet Kazab?

  8. We will be better placed if we had clear policies.
    We are blind to realities.

  9. Headley has been manifestly made to plead guilty. He will escape death but not life sentence. But, going by what has happened in the past, there is a real danger that he will jump parole when he gets it, and 'disappear' possibly in the Hindu Kush mountains.

  10. It is a disgrace the person who admits guilty for planning Mumbai massacre will escape death sentence and here our courts and the high strung TV Networks with their shrilly correspondents will be forever busy with Kasab!

    Why should Pakistan extradite Dawood and Sayeed when a) we don't want Quatrocci to be handed over to us by portugese Govt, for reasons well known, b) U.S. a supposedly friend and ally will not extradite Hadley because he is going to help them in 'their' war of terror. There are two types of terror.1) The terror which rest of the world fights 2) terror fought by Americans. Everybody must forget their terror problems in front of the one fought by U.S.!

  11. BKC: Yes we need clear policies... nd to face realities... and it is time..

    Vinod: even though some of the newspapers call this a success I doubt if anything will be in favor of India.. US continues to be present in Pakistan for reasons other than terror..

  12. ERR: a warm welcome to you...

    Quatrocci's case continues to be a blot.. but then was the opposition strong enough to create enough rumble? I pray we have a strong oppostion party soon..

    Everybody must forget their terror problems in front of the one fought by U.S.!

    rightly said..

  13. Good post. I think US want to hide some things from India regarding Headly. A double agent? Could be. We should understand that US has its own agenda in our region. We should remember that it was US who funded the growth of Taliban thru ISI. A 'good' Taliban which can be easily controlled by money thru ISI which will not attack US interests but has the potential to try to instigate trouble in China ,Iran and Russia ( and may be India too)will not be against USA's interests. India for the last few yrs were following a US centric instead of a multi centric foreign policy. That have to change and we should be looking after our own and the region's interest.

  14. It does seem that he 'had' a few privileges which seem to have backfired on the US establishment.
    Which makes it highly unlikely that he'll be handed over.
    In any case, even if our investigators do get a chance to go over and interrogate him, will they discover something they don't already know?

    By the way, is still at a beta stage. Kinks will soon be ironed out, I suppose.
    Thanks for visiting.

  15. Doc: Thank you!
    Yes the good Taliban was good until Sept 11 or they did not care to hear India until the Taliban of their own make turned against them.. and India foolishly thought that US is fighting India's war against terror..India need to think and act for herself.

    Perumalythoma:will they discover something they don't already know?

    that is a good question.... but then how long can they hide the info and stop acting?

  16. the shadowy world of terrorism and crime is difficult to penetrate - or so it appears from the plethora of books on the subject. so to get even the slightest hint or clue, large sums have to be paid or compensation by way of plea bargains have to be arrived at, i suppose..The people who have to find out (the spies & inspectors) maybe take the easy route most of the time...

  17. I don't think lesser sentence means that he will escape with less punishment..I hope he rots in an American Jail...

  18. Maddy: Yes it seems that the US judiciary has got it's hands full and hence easier ways will be sought...

    Jon: A warm welcome to you..

    Lesser punishment will take him off the death sentence , but let us have justice for those who were brutally killed by him.


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