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Can't rule out foreign hand in Pune blast: Centre

February 15, 2010 23:15 IST

The government on Monday said it cannot rule out the possibility of the involvement of a foreign hand in the Pune blast, including a David Headley link, even as it disclosed that an Inter Services Intelligence -sponsored 'Karachi Project' was going on to indoctrinate Indian youth on to the path of terror.

India is planning to seek access to Headley, a United States national of Pakistani origin now in American custody, by moving a US court, the Centre said.

Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai said there is definitely a Headley link to the Pune blast, since it took place at the German Bakery, which is located very close to the Osho Ashram, where the terror suspect had conducted a reconnaissance.

He informed that Headley had spoken of an ISI - sponsored 'Karachi Project' to take away Indian youth to Pakistan and indoctrinate them to carry out terror attacks in India.

However, he said the investigations in the Pune case are in 'very preliminary stages' and it would be too early to comment. It is well known that terror organisations like Indian Mujahideen have handlers across the border, Pillai added.

"We cannot rule out or rule in the possibility of the involvement of foreign hands in Pune blast," Pillai told reporters.

He said the investigators were doing their job and the government needed some time before it could make a breakthrough in the case.

Asked whether the government had received any intelligence input before the blast, Pillai said the Centre had some general information, which was duly passed to the Maharashtra government, but there was no specific information about a terror threat to any particular city.

On the possibility of the involvement of a terror module of the Indian Mujahideen, Pillai said, "We do not know whether the old modules still exist or whether some new modules have come up. But we have alerted the states, wherever they had existed earlier, and kept a check on their activities."

On Headley, he said, "During his interrogation, Headley has said that the 'Karachi Project' was launched by the ISI, with the objective of taking Indian youths to Pakistan, have them indoctrinated, give them training and send them back to India to carry out terror attacks".

Asked whether India would seek access to Headley, Pillai said, "We have already asked for access to David Headley. He is currently in grand jury indictment. First, we have to file a chargesheet, then move a court for Letter Rogatory and then approach the American court for his access".

He also said due to different legal systems (in India and the US), Indian investigators have not been able to get access to him so far.

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