The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is eyeing a visit by a team from United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for an opportunity to clear the air on a claim made by the American government in 2009 that a key LeT operative was involved in the Samjhauta Express blast, an attack suspected to have been carried out by Hindu extremists.
The FBI team will visit India from May 13 and NIA will ask it to explain the basis for US Treasury Department’s contention that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) financier Arif Qasmani was involved in the 2007 attack. “It is a discrepancy which the accused in the Samjhauta case may try to exploit in their defence and the NIA wants to resolve it before they take it up,” said a senior NIA official requesting anonymity. Sources, however, said they do not expect any new revelation.
The Qasmani case is part of 14 issues that Indian agencies have raised with American counterparts under a treaty that enables the two sides to assist each other.
Trial in the Samjhauta case is on a special court in Haryana’s Panchkula and more than 200 out of 299 witnesses have deposed in the case. Around 20 witnesses have refused to support the prosecution case so far.