NEW DELHI, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- India Friday expressed its " slight disappointment" over the quantum of punishment given to Pakistani-origin American citizen David Headley, and said it would continue to push for his extradition from the U.S., just hours after a court in Chicago sentenced him to 35 years in jail for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks.
While the Indian External Affairs Ministry said that the sentencing was a beginning, the Home Ministry made it clear that the government wants nothing less than death sentence for the 52- year-old Headley who was convicted by the Chicago court for helping the mastermind of the Mumbai massacre in which over 170 people, including six foreigners, were killed and over 300 others injured.
"The Indian government is slightly disappointed over the quantum of sentence. (However), the 35-year sentencing and what the judge said is a beginning. We understand there are legal procedures in the U.S. but nevertheless the position we have, the request (extradition) that we have made remains intact," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told the media in the national capital.
India wants Headley tried here and that he would have possibly got a "serious and severe" sentence in this country, the Minister added.
Taking a tought stand, Indian Home Secretary R.K. Singh said, " We want death sentence for Headley. (In fact) our view is that all those involved in Mumbai terror attacks case should receive death penalty. That has been our consistent stand. Indian request for his extradition remains (intact) and New Delhi will press for it."
Headley, who was arrested by authorities in the U.S. in 2009, escaped capital punishment by entering into a plea bargain with American prosecutors in 2010. He pleaded guilty on all 12 counts, including his role of helping Pakistan-based banned terror out Lashker-eToiba to carry out the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.
He cooperated with U.S. agencies in order to escape the death penalty and avoid extradition to India.
Earlier this month, Headley's accomplice and Canadian-Pakistani businessman Tahawwur Rana was sentenced to 14 years in jail in Chicago for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks in which 10 Pakistani militants entered Mumbai through sea route and carried out the massacre which drew widespread global condemnation.