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Pak deliberately stifling 26/11 probe? Yes, says Chidambaram

Pak deliberately stifling 26/11 probe? Yes, says Chidambaram

Author: Express news service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 6, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-deliberately-stifling-26-11-probe-yes-says-chidambaram/513493/0

Days before he leaves for the US to meet officials and agencies helping India investigate the Mumbai attacks, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that Pak authorities are deliberately holding up the probe against those involved, including Lashkar-e-Toiba's founder Hafiz Sayeed.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera TV, Chidambaram said: "...they (the Pakistanis) 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. Therefore, we are thoroughly, totally dissatisfied with the Pakistani response."

Asked if he believed that the Pakistani government and authorities were "deliberately holding up...stifling the investigation," he said: "Yes. Regrettably that is the answer but yes."

Questioning Pakistan's sincerity, Chidambaram said: "Where is the trial? Where is the chargesheet? When is a trial starting? When is the first witness being examined?"

Asked about the dossier on Sayeed and his release by the Pak court, he said: "The evidence that we have presented tells any investigator, any prosecutor what Hafiz Sayeed did, where he was, whom he met, what he told them, what his role was. If that is not evidence to continue investigation against Sayeed, what else is evidence?"

He said that India had shared ample evidence with Pakistan to show that Sayeed had not just met the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks several times but had also selected them for the operation and given them new names, including one to Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist caught by the Indian police.

Sharing details of some other evidence on Sayeed's role in Mumbai attacks - contained in India's latest dossier to Pakistan - Chidambaram said between December 2007 and January 2008, the LeT chief was present at the camp where the Mumbai attackers were undergoing training.

"He spoke to the trainees on many occasions. There was another training camp at a place called Chekhalabandi Mountain of Muzaffarabad. Sayeed was in the camp and met the trainees. He was accompanied by a person known as 'Major General Saab'. Sayeed finally selected the trainees and gave them new names. Then they underwent marine training at a training camp and Hafeez Sayeed was present for that training too," he said.

Chidambaram said the prosecution never presented the evidence before court. "The court can only be convinced if you present evidence to a court. The judge goes not investigate. The judge weighs the evidence presented to the court. If no evidence is presented to the court, what will the judge do?" he asked.

Chidambaram said India was not sure who was the 'Major General Saab' - to which even Kasab has made a reference in his depositions before a Mumbai court. "He may be a retired Major General, he may be a serving Major General. I don't know. That has to be investigated. Hafeez Sayeed has to be asked where he was on those days, did he visit those places, who accompanied him. That is the purpose of investigation. Purpose of investigation is to take leads and investigate. That, I am afraid, the Pakistanis are not doing," he said.

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