Govt does not owe apology to anyone for goof-up in fugitives list: PC | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt does not owe apology to anyone for goof-up in fugitives list: PC

Home Minister P Chidambaram today said the "embarrassing" goof-up in the 'most wanted fugitives list' given to Pakistan is a wake up call to security agencies to become more professional but ruled out giving any apology for the lapse.

delhi Updated: May 21, 2011 20:29 IST

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the "embarrassing" goof-up in the 'most wanted fugitives list' given to Pakistan is a wake up call to security agencies to become more professional but ruled out giving any apology for the lapse.

He also said that the goof-up does not damage government's credibility and it will "not change the dynamics" of Indo-Pak relationship or the status of discussions between them.

Chidambaram also dismissed suggestions that after this blunder, Pakistan will grow dismissive about India's repeated requests to handover terror suspects sheltered in that country.

"I don't think it damages credibility. I think it is a wake up call for the agencies to become more professional," he told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.

He was asked whether he would accept that the goof-up damaged the governments credibility even in a small part if not in a big way.

Chidambaram was asked whether the government owed an apology to the two persons named in the fugitives list as hiding in Pakistan but were actually living in India.

"I don't think this is a case we owe an apology to anyone. We expressed regret that there was a genuine human error in not updating the list. To that extent, we have expressed regret and we remain regretful. But I think we have carried the argument too far," he said.

He said the two (named in the list living in India) were fugitives of justice. Red Corner Notices were indeed issued to them. Subsequently they were arrested.

Chidambaram said it is not right to exonerate them at this stage.

"They are accused in grave charges. The mistake was not removing their names from the list and consequently the mistake of including them in the list handed over by the Home Secretary. I think you are carrying too far by saying that the two are innocent people."

Asked about the implications of the goof-up in the eyes of Pakistan and whether they would be dismissive of the Indian list he said,"I doubt it. See, these lists were exchanged in 2004, in 2007, in 2011. Pakistan has always been dismissive whenever we gave the list in 2004, 2007. They never acted on any list.

To a question whether the mistake would change the dynamics of Indo-Pak relations, he said, "it is embarrassing, but it will not change the dynamics of the the relationship between India and Pakistan or status of discussions because Pakistan has always been dismissive of these lists".

Chidambaram pointed out that soon after the lapse became public he had returned from a trip from Tripura and was "the first to immediately call the press and say we take responsibility".

"Since the list was handed over formally by the Home Secretary, we have taken, what I would call, constructive responsibility," he added.

To a question on criticism that people say it is "incompetence" on the part of the government as a whole and not just the Home Ministry, he said "well, thats a very harsh word. It's a mistake or two mistakes...now if you want to raise it to the level of incompetence, that's your call."