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Updated: September 6, 2009 11:44 IST

Pak deliberately stifling Mumbai probe: Chidambaram

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Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram addressing the media after inaugurating the biometrics identification system in New Delhi on September 1, 2009. File Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu
Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram addressing the media after inaugurating the biometrics identification system in New Delhi on September 1, 2009. File Photo: S. Subramanium

India on Saturday slammed Pakistan accusing it of deliberately "stifling" probe into the Mumbai attacks and made it clear that action against the perpetrators of the strikes was a condition for resumption of dialogue.

The Home Minister, P Chidambaram, also put Pakistan in a spot over Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed by citing details about his involvement in the Mumbai attacks, information regarding which has already been given to Islamabad.

"...We are thoroughly, totally dissatisfied with the Pakistani response," he told Al Jazeera TV.

Asked why India was not satisfied, he replied "Because they are not arresting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

They are still on Pakistan soil. We know their names...we have shared their names with them. They are not investigating the case. The trial hasn’t opened yet. It will be a year on the 26th of November."

Questioned whether he believed that Pakistan is "deliberately holding up" the investigation, Mr. Chidambaram said "Yes. Regrettably that is the answer but yes."

Queried whether he meant to say that Pakistan government was "deliberately stifling" the investigation into the Mumbai attacks, the Home Minister responded by saying "Yes".

Questioning Pakistan's sincerity and seriousness to pursue the probe and prosecution into Mumbai attacks case, Mr. Chidambaram asked, "Where is the trial? Where is the charge sheet? When is a trial starting ? When is the first witness being examined?"

The Home Minister was asked about the dossiers of information given to Pakistan which India says contains "cogent and convincing" evidence linking Saeed, who also heads Lashkar-e-Taiba, to the Mumbai attacks.

"The evidence that we have presented tells any investigator, any prosecutor what Hafiz Saeed did, where he was, whom he met, what he told them, what his role was. If that is not evidence to continue investigation against Hafeez Saeed what else is evidence," said Mr. Chidambaram while pointing out that he himself was a "trained lawyer" who should know such aspects.

Asked what the evidence against Saeed was, he read out from some document: "December 2007- January 2008 he was in a place where (lone arrested terrorist Ajmal) Kasab and others were trained.

"He spoke to the trainees on many occasions. There was another training camp at a place called Chekhalabandi Mountain of Muzaffarabad.

"Hafiz Saeed was in the camp and met the trainees. He was accompanied by a person known as 'Major General Saab.

Hafiz Saeed finally selected the trainees and gave them new names. Kasab was given a new name 'Abu Mujahib'. That name was given by Hafiz Saeed."

Mr. Chidambaram noted that Saeed had been held and then released because the courts in Pakistan were not convinced that there was enough evidence.

"The court can only be convinced if you present evidence to a court. There is a vast distinction between the responsibility and role of the prosecution and the role and responsibility of the judge. The judge does not investigate.

The judge weighs the evidence presented to the court. If no evidence is presented to the court, what will judge do?"

On resumption of dialogue, he said it was "dependent" upon Pakistan prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators and dismantling the terror infrastructure.

"There is no evidence of either. So that is our position. Some may disagree with that position but that is the position of the Indian government," the Home Minister said.

Asked whether India had made it a condition that talks cannot resume till Pakistan acts against perpetrators of Mumbai attacks and dismantles terror infrastructure, he said "Of course we have.

"We have said it immediately after December 1. It is a condition, that you will punish the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. That has been our position since December. Sharm-el-Shaikh will not change that position. Although that statement in being interpreted the other way,” he said.

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