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Rediff.com  » News » NIA charge-sheet to be main talking point of Indo-Pak talks

NIA charge-sheet to be main talking point of Indo-Pak talks

By Vicky Nanjappa
December 29, 2011 16:47 IST
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The home secretary level talks between India and Pakistan to be held in January will discuss a series of issues, but the most important one would be the 26/11 charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency.

The charge-sheet which names nine persons in it for their role in the 26/11 attacks would be a subject matter for discussion. This charge-sheet is not just about naming a few terrorists, but it has far reaching implications since there are people from the Pakistan establishment who are named in it. The talk mainly would be about Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali who had helped David Headley and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba during the horrific attack.

Everyone knows that the trial to be conducted on the basis of the NIA charge-sheet would be in absentia as none of the accused are in the country. Many in the security establishment in India are confident that not a single accused would be extradited for various reasons.

In the case of David Headley, his legal team would quote the plea bargain which prevents an extradition. Speaking of Tawwahur Rana the entire matter is still unclear and the trial is expected to take a very long time. The rest of them like Ilyas Kashmiri, Sajid Mir are names India could continue to have in its records as there is no way that Pakistan would attempt to hand them over.

Indian agencies are well aware of the outcome of even asking Pakistan for an extradition. However what they would be more interested in is to get Pakistan to acknowledge the fact that the likes of Major Samir and Major Iqbal took part in this attack. Although these names have been doing the rounds since the past two years, Pakistan has not acknowledged the fact that such persons even exist on their soil.

Going by the NIA charge-sheet, it is clear that a large level of dependence regarding the majors has been on the David Headley statement and his confession. This however would not be enough to convince Pakistan as they would immediately counter it by stating that it is hard to believe the version that has been put out by one man (Headley).

Pakistan has several times in the past discounted what Headley has said. NIA sources add that their investigation do not end with the filing of the charge-sheet. There is more to be probed and it is expected that several more details would emerge in the days to come. There is no bar in filing additional charges. The most important aspect of the second phase of the investigation would be accessing Tawwahur Rana. The NIA has its questionnaire ready and is waiting for the completion of the trial.

However, in the interim they are trying to get the call records between Headley and the two majors. While the NIA has a fair idea regarding the financial transactions that had been made, it would be able to detail the role by the two majors better if it got access to the call records.

However, this would be an extremely tough job. Firstly the NIA would need help from the NIA for the transcripts. Secondly the voice samples are something that only Pakistan would be able to provide and during the talks India would push for the same again.

The NIA is also in touch with Hotmail and Microsoft for details regarding the mail trail between Headley and the rest. The mails have plenty of information but the most important aspect would be to get their hands on the voice samples. These not only would have the details of the calls between Headley and the majors. This would also clear a
major doubt regarding Sajid Mir, who India believes is part of the Pakistani establishment. It would be interesting to see if they are able to match the voice of Mir who was on the phone line when the attacks took place on 26/11.

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Vicky Nanjappa