Setback to anti-terror agenda

Tardy progress of Mumbai attack probe was listed for NSA talks.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:32 pm IST

Published - August 24, 2015 03:13 am IST - NEW DELHI

David Coleman Headley. File Photo

David Coleman Headley. File Photo

The list had 54 fugitives, up from the 50 in 2012. India was planning to hand it over to Pakistan during the talks between the National Security Advisors of the two nations, which was cancelled amid high drama on Saturday.

The list of fugitives taking shelter in the neighbouring country was number one on India’s agenda for the discussions, followed by a heavy file, or dossier, on underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim and the pending trial in the 26/11 Mumbai attack case.

Quoting copiously the interrogation details of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley, who helped plot the Mumbai attacks of 2008, India made a watertight case to corner Pakistan regarding its apathetic approach to the trial.

India’s argument was that under the United Nations Security Resolution and being a member of the Commonwealth Committee on Terrorism, Pakistan was bound to take action against the accused. India would have taken up the repeated reminders sent to Pakistan for help in the investigation, one as recently as May.

India has on the list names of at least nine accused, among them Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who walked out of a Pakistani jail in May and have gone underground.

As talks are off, anti-terror agenda suffers a setback

There were two faceless names on the list — Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) officials Major Saleem and Major Iqbal, who helped Lashkar-e-Taiba execute the Mumbai attack by giving logistical and technical support. The dossier handed over to Pakistan in 2012 did not have their addresses, but this time, India mentioned that they were suspected to be living in Lahore.

Pakistan has not taken any action on a letter rogatory sent to it in 2011 to collect evidence against the nine accused. Sources said despite several reminders, Pakistan did not show any interest in assisting the investigations.

In the dossier, India sought details on the e-mails and phone numbers used by the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. Quoting from Headley’s interrogation report, India said several telephone numbers and e-mail accounts in it would be key to the investigations, and Pakistan had so far shown its unwillingness to hand over the details.

“Had the talks taken place, for the umpteenth time, we would have reminded them that our request to record the voice samples of Lakhvi and others who were present in the LeT command room in Karachi when the Mumbai attacks took place, was still not met,” a senior government official said.

The list of 54 fugitives was finalised after much deliberations between the Home Ministry and the intelligence agencies. “The list was revised multiple times and we added these names after collecting supporting evidence. From the last talks held in 2012, the number of names on list has increased to 54,” the official said.

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