The United Kingdom has refused to provide evidence in a matter of terror-funding before it is given an undertaking that India will refrain from giving capital punishment to the accused in the case.
India has refused to accede to the UK's demand, stalling the probe in the case for over a year, sources told HT.
"How can we agree to such a condition that binds the hands of our investigators and the criminal justice system even before a chargesheet is filed in the case? Besides, once we agree to such a condition from the UK, other countries which have also repealed the provision of capital punishment, can seek similar undertaking before they cooperate with Indian investigators jeopardising probes in many other cases," said a Union home ministry official requesting anonymity.
Indian federal anti-terror agency, the NIA, in August, 2012, registered a case against against operatives of banned terror outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) for funding sleeper cells of terrorists, their jailed associates and family members in Punjab to revive militancy in the state.
The NIA alleged that Punjab-based BKI operatives were receiving money from their UK-based associates - Balbir Singh Bains and Joga Singh and some front outfits like Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare and Khalsa Aid to commit terrorist acts in India. Further, they were also being provided active support by Pakistan-based BKI operatives like Wadhawa Singh and Jagtar Singh Tara.
"Under the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) with the UK, the NIA requested evidence against the BKI operatives there and their fund-raising activities but so far the UK has not acted upon it seeking an undertaking that India will not give death penalty to any of the accused in the case on the basis of evidence provided by it. But India has refused to accept the demand," added the official.
The NIA has informed the home ministry about its stand and the ministry is yet to take a call on it.
Earlier, in cases of extradition only, India was asked to give an undertaking that it will not give death penalty once the accused person was sent here to face trial.
"But now, even for sharing evidence, countries are asking for waiver of death penalty. Now in the case against the BKI, four of the accused are Indian nationals, therefore it may tantamount to a third country telling us how we should conduct trial against our accused," argued the official.