Gaping holes in Pak's 26/11 probe, says India
The Indian delegation, which went to Islamabad for expediting the 26/11 probe, found serious lacunae in the Pakistani investigation after it observed that seven Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) accused, including operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, had been charged only with criminal conspiracy - not murder.
It was also pointed out to Pakistani authorities that with only 13 out of the 155 witnesses in the Mumbai attack case being examined, it would take the Rawalpindi anti-terror court another five years to question all the witnesses.
Top government sources said that 26/11 public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, part of the four-member delegation led by joint secretary Dharmender Sharma, pointed out to the joint director of Pakistan Investigating Agency (PIA) that by just charge-sheeting the accused for hatching criminal conspiracy, the culprits could escape the death penalty if convicted by the anti-terror court.
"We wanted the accused, including Lakhvi, to be charged for murder (302 Pakistan Penal Code) read with criminal conspiracy (120-B PPC) so that they are held liable for death sentence. As of now, these accused have been charged only with 120-B, which means that they provided help to the 26/11 attackers but were not responsible for murder of the 166 persons during the attacks," said a home ministry official. The Indian team was in Pakistan from December 19 to 24, 2012.
Sources said that while the Pakistani officials said the seven accused were being tried for the terrorist strike, in which the maximum punishment was death, the Indian side was not convinced.
Indian authorities have conveyed their apprehensions to their counterparts in Islamabad.
The Indian side also complained about the delay in examination of witnesses, with only 13 persons being examined four years after the Mumbai massacre.
"We also pointed out to the Pakistanis that in their forthcoming visit to India, the judicial commission should cross-examine Inspector Kadam of the Mumbai Police, who had intercepted the conversations between the attackers in Mumbai and their handlers in Karachi, Pakistan. It is quite strange that the Pakistanis had left out Kadam for the purpose of cross-examination," said a senior official.
Under the agreement signed between Pakistan and India, the judicial commission from Islamabad would examine only four witnesses, without Inspector Kadam's name figuring in the list.