Pakistan misled India on Hafiz Saeed’s arrest, Shinde asserts

New Delhi  :  Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Monday said Pakistan had misled India on the arrest of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and the impression created about his detentions for his role as a conspirator in the attack did not match the documents furnished.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha a day after Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik concluded his three-day visit to India, Shinde said copies of FIRs and judgments, pertaining to previous arrests of the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief, made available to India showed the arrests were not for the Mumbai attacks.

“Mr.Rehman Malik has been telling us repeatedly he has arrested Hafiz Saeed thrice and and that on each occasion he (Saeed) was let off by the courts due to lack of evidence. We had been given to understand Hafiz Saeed was arrested on charge of being involved in the 26/11 attacks,” Shinde said.

“From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Therefore, I can only say that Mr Rehman Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter,” Shinde said.

“I specially mentioned (to Malik) our investigation showed that Hafiz Saeed was one of the masterminds and Pakistan is still to take effective action to charge him,” Shinde said, adding many other key conspirators and participants in the Mumbai attack have not yet been charge sheeted.

The minister said he also emphasised the “value of voice samples for establishing identity of those who were audacious enough to be caught on tape while directing the attackers” in Mumbai.

“I also emphasised the need to respond to the letter rogatories sent to Pakistan in pursuant to investigation by NIA (National Investigation Agency),” he said.

Shinde said India had given “in principle” approval to visit of a judicial commission from Pakistan to complete cross-examination of four witnesses, and it could come next month.

He said a team from India will visit Pakistan this week to ensure that the revised terms of reference for the panel’s visit are worked out carefully in consultation with senior law officers of both sides so that “there is no legal lacunae”.

A team of officials from the home ministry, the NIA and Narcotics Control Bureau will visit Pakistan in January 2013 to operationalise the “task force” on counterfeiting and drug trafficking, he said, adding home secretaries of the two countries will try to meet in 2013’s first quarter to review progress.

Shinde also criticised non-compliance by Pakistan of long-pending red corner notices against the absconding accused of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, in which more than 400 people were killed.

“The D-company operatives led by Dawood Ibrahim still evade arrest,” he said.

He said he also raised with Malik the issue of cross-border infiltration as well as of the concerted attempts by terrorists in 2012 to cross the Line of Control in Kashmir.

He said the number of terrorist camps and launching pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir remain intact and there have been a large number of cases of unprovoked violations of the ceasefire.

The minister said that the Indian side also raised with Malik the issue of consignments of fake Indian currency seized from individuals coming from Pakistan and “disturbing increase in attempts to push drugs across Punjab borders”.

The Pakistani side, he said, raised the issue of progress in investigations in Samjhauta Express blast and were told this could not be equated with the Mumbai terror attack.

Shinde said the government told Pakistan that the need for bringing guilty of Mumbai terror attack to justice was of “paramount importance”.