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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

‘Real masterminds still being sheltered by Pak’

Debasish Panigrahi and Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 22, 2013
First Published: 01:47 IST(22/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:49 IST(22/3/2013)

The real masterminds of the 1993 serial blasts will never be brought to justice as they continue to be sheltered in Pakistan, investigators said on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court delivered its final judgment in an appeal filed by 19 convicts.

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“The task is incomplete until the main perpetrators are brought to book,” said former police commissioner MN Singh, who investigated the case and filed the mammoth charge sheet.

“The fact that the masterminds continue to elude us is a regret that will continue to haunt everyone involved in the probe.”

Back then, Singh had spearheaded the Special Task Force of officials from the Research & Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Mumbai police crime branch.

Together, the officials spent months investigating the blasts conspiracy and uncovered links that led across the border and the Arabian Sea, to Pakistan and the Middle East.

Dutifully, they compiled their findings into what are now the well-thumbed crime dossiers of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and prime accused Tiger Memon.

Those dossiers helped the Interpol wing of the CBI secure Red Corner Notices against these masterminds. And that is as far as it went.

“Twenty years on, we have made some token noises and initiated confidence-building measures with Pakistan, where the masterminds are suspected to be holed up,” said Singh.

“In my opinion, the confidence-building should start with the handing over of Dawood and the other masterminds.”

The government has not done much besides prepare and send dossiers to Pakistan, added another official who was involved in the investigation.

“And instead of cooperating, Pakistan sent back a vague list of India-based people wanted there. Despite our evidence, they continue to deny that Dawood and Tiger Memon are in that country.”

Interpol has also failed to nab them, despite the suspects’ frequent visits to Saudi Arab until a few years ago, the official added.

“Dawood still travels to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan via Afghanistan to run his drug and arms trade,” said the official, “but he remains ‘untraced’.”


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