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Shinde for joint operation with U.S. to nab Dawood

Sandeep Joshi
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Minister rules out reinvestigation into German Bakery blast case

With some of India’s most wanted terrorists in custody, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Saturday said the government would build pressure on Pakistan to hand over Dawood Ibrahim, who has taken refuge there.

He suggested a joint operation by India and the U.S., which has also labelled Dawood as a ‘global terrorist’ to nab the underworld don. He is wanted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

“During my recent visit to the U.S., I had told the FBI and Attorney General Eric Holder about Dawood’s presence in Pakistan … I told them, India and America need [to conduct] a joint operation [to nab the underworld don],” Mr. Shinde told journalists here.

The U.S. had in 2003 named Dawood a “global terrorist” for having close links to al-Qaeda, while in 2006 the U.S. President termed him a “foreign narcotics trafficker” for smuggling narcotics from Afghanistan and Thailand to the U.S., Europe and other places across the globe.

Noting that the recent arrests of some top Indian Mujahideen and LeT terrorists have once against highlighted the role of Pakistan and its agency ISI in spreading terror in India and harbouring terrorists, Mr. Shinde said Indian intelligence agencies were closely monitoring movements of these terrorists and they all would be brought to justice “one by one.” “All will come … Just wait,” he added.

During the past one year, India has brought back some of the most wanted terrorists, including key plotter of the Mumbai attack Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, Fasih Mohammed, Abdul Karim Tunda and Yasin Bhatkal. All of them are wanted in multiple cases of terrorism.

On the controversy over conviction — in the Pune German Bakery blast case — of Mirza Himayat Baig, who is now on death row, Mr. Shinde said the Maharashtra ATS might have gathered evidence on his involvement in the incident and pursued the case accordingly.

However, during interrogation of Bhatkal, who was arrested from Nepal last month, the Indian Mujahideen co-founder reportedly denied Baig accompanying him while carrying out the blast at the bakery.

Ruling out any further investigation in the Pune case, Mr. Shinde said that at this stage nothing could be done. “It is a preliminary investigation. Yasin Bhatkal’s interrogation will bring to light more facts … We cannot come to any conclusion unless the whole investigation is done.”

Mr. Shinde said that if Baig was found innocent, no action would be taken against him.

“Whoever is innocent, no action will be taken against him. But when the action was taken, police might have got something at that time,” he said, referring to the arrest of nine Muslims in 2006 Malegaon blast case. Later, the NIA, in its investigations into the case, said the Malegaon blast was the handiwork of right wing radical groups.

In its charge sheet in the German Bakery case, the Maharashtra ATS said that Baig had accompanied Bhatkal to carry out the terror attack.


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