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Rediff.com  » News » Allow NIA team to visit Pak over 26/11: Shinde tells Malik

Allow NIA team to visit Pak over 26/11: Shinde tells Malik

October 01, 2012 21:13 IST

Irked over Pakistan's failure to punish those involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, India has asked Islamabad to allow a team of the National Investigation Agency to visit and examine the evidence collected against the attack's masterminds before it allows the second visit of a Pakistani judicial Commission.

India also wants the NIA team to meet the witnesses of the 26/11 case, in which Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others are the prime accused.

The case is being heard by a special court in Rawalpindi's high-security Adila jail.

India's view was conveyed by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde when he had met his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting in the Maldives last week.

Shinde told Malik that the team of the NIA should be allowed to visit Pakistan before New Delhi allows the second visit of the that country's Judicial Commission for cross examination of a magistrate who recorded the statement of terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, investigating officer of the case and two doctors who performed the postmortem of the nine LeT terrorists who were killed by security forces in Mumbai in November, 2008.

"India will soon send a formal request to Pakistan about the visit of a NIA team. The team will look at the material evidence collected by the NIA, which is probing the case there," said  Home Ministry official, who is privy to the development.

New Delhi is also likely to request Islamabad to allow the NIA team to meet the witnesses of the 26/11 case.

"But we are not sure whether Pakistan will allow the NIA team to meet the witnesses," the official said.

Home ministry officials said the Pakistani Judicial Commission had visited India following a bilateral agreement which said the Commission would not quiz the magistrate, who had recorded the statement of Kasab, the IO of the case and two doctors.

However, after the Pakistani court dealing with the 26/11 case had said that evidence collected by the commission during its first visit to India in March had no "evidential value" to punish those involved in the Mumbai terror attack, Islamabad had asked New Delhi to allow its panel to visit Mumbai again.

The eight-member Pakistani judicial commission, which included prosecutors and defence lawyers, had visited Mumbai in March.

The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court of Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman had said in an order that all the proceedings and the report of the commission that visited Mumbai in March were "illegal".

The proceedings in the court has been delayed for long and the judge has been changed five times.

Pakistan is yet to respond to New Delhi's request for voice samples of the masterminds of the 26/11 accused while key accused and LeT founder Hafiz Saeed is still roaming freely there.

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