The US has announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired, aided or abetted the terror attacks in Mumbai, India on 26 November 2008. This is the second time that the US is announcing such reward, as the first such announcement did not yield any result.
"We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates," Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, said.
The Department of State Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program is offering a new reward for up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating 2008 Mumbai attack: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pic.twitter.com/5oN43VAJEz— ANI (@ANI) November 26, 2018
But why was David Headley, the American spy who allegedly hatched the conspiracy for the attacks, converted into an "Approver" by the US? This question continues to haunt the Indian security agencies, as the US has never explained to India in the last 10 years why it entered into a plea bargain with Headley in 2010 that helped him escape the death penalty.
David Headley's plea bargain, according to India's intelligence officers who did not wish to be quoted, made the case weaker as "Indian intelligence only received such information, which was already out there in public domain."
India's National Investigative Agency only once interacted with David Headley in 2010 to record his statement and that, too, 10 days after the Indian official landed in the US. Since then, Indian agencies were not able to catch hold of Headley until 2016, when he deposed before a Mumbai court through video conferencing from a US jail, but despite making attempts, the US authorities never disclosed the whereabouts of Headley.
There has been a perception among certain section in the Indian administration that the US had every detail of Headley's movement and that is why the US administration never allowed Indian agencies to question him independently.
Not getting access to Headley was one of the main reasons why the Indian agencies could not get answers to key questions inkling "who were the 'state actors' Headley was close to?"
It is believed that Headley visited Mumbai several times citing the reason as "for setting up of immigration office" but the key question that remains unanswered is — "how did the US citizen manage to sneak into India several times on false pretext?"