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ISI agent jailed in US claims to have met Indian leaders

world Updated: Apr 01, 2012 02:08 IST
Yashwant Raj

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, the ISI agent sentenced to two years in jail by a US court on Friday, has claimed to have met several Indian ministers, including one of cabinet rank.

All these meetings took place, Fai said Friday, in Washington DC. The most recent of them was with the cabinet rank minister, in 2009, and it happened at the Indian embassy.

Fai refused to name the ministers and didn't say who sought these meetings. But he claimed these meetings were held to find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem.

As head of Kashmiri American Council, which he ran for decades with millions of dollars from the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, Fai was DC's leading Kashmiri separatist.

The Indian embassy denied any meeting took place at the mission and challenged Fai to name the minister and give details of the meeting.

The first two meetings took place, according to Fai, in 1993 and 1994 with a former cabinet minister and a former interior minister respectively. The third, in 2009, was with a serving cabinet minister.

"I met with a three-man delegation in Washington DC in December 1993 which was sent by the then PM of India PV Narasimha Rao," said Fai in a statement issued at the courthouse after his sentencing.

Between 1994 and 2009, Fai claims to have had a dozen of meetings with emissaries of the government of India.

These meetings - or claims - formed a crucial part of his defence strategy in court to prove that he might have been on the payroll of the ISI but he was not an agent but a peacemaker.

His lawyer, Nina Ginsberg said in court Friday that the day Fai was arrested last June, there was a message on his voice mail from an Indian embassy staffer seeking a meeting. The embassy said it has no knowledge of this call.