Pakistani authorities have declined an Indian request to send an inquiry commission to interrogate LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks, a media report said on Sunday.
"There is no law under which we could allow the Indian investigators to grill the seven accused, who are already in judicial custody," a senior unnamed interior ministry official was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
India had sent an official letter expressing its willingness to allow a Pakistani commission to visit India to interview key officials linked with the probe into the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. In the same letter, it had asked Pakistan to allow its team to visit Islamabad to interrogate the seven accused.
Home minister P Chidambaram told the media on March 2 this year that India had sent Pakistan "a request asking them if they would agree to a team from India to question the people who are suspects."
Wajid Zia, chief of the Federal Investigation Agency's joint investigating team that probed the Mumbai incident, sent a reply to the interior ministry's National Crisis Management Cell, which has forwarded it to the foreign ministry for delivery to Indian authorities.
Zia's letter states that Pakistan's request for sending a commission to India to interrogate persons, including the magistrate who recorded the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab's statement, is based on sections 503, 505 and 507 of the Code Criminal Procedure, sources told Dawn.
The letter also states that the seven Pakistani accused – Lakhvi, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu Al-Qama, Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah, Mohammad Younas Anjum, Shahid Jameel Riaz and Jamil Ahmed -- have been remanded into judicial custody.
The letter questioned the legal basis of the Indian request to interrogate these suspects, sources said.
The seven Pakistani suspects are currently being held in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.