Pak must walk terror talk
SHIV SHANKAR Menon, the new foreign secretary who assumed office on Sunday, says India will give evidence to Pakistan about the involvement of the ISI and Pakistan-based terror groups in the Mumbai blasts and judge the country by its actions and not words.Bolstering India's position will be the decision of two of the 15 blasts accused to confess to their roles and turn approvers in the case.Updated: Oct 02, 2006 01:09 IST
SHIV SHANKAR Menon, the new foreign secretary who assumed office on Sunday, says India will give evidence to Pakistan about the involvement of the ISI and Pakistan-based terror groups in the Mumbai blasts and judge the country by its actions and not words.
Bolstering India's position will be the decision of two of the 15 blasts accused to confess to their roles and turn approvers in the case.
In Mumbai, an Anti-Terrorism Squad officer involved in the 11/7 blasts probe said on Sunday that the confessions of Tanbvir Ansari and Jameer Sheikh, alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operatives, would help police establish the case against the accused and prove the ISI's involvement.
The officer said Ansari and Jameer Sheikh played a "key" but only "logistical" part in plotting and executing the 11/7 blasts that were masterminded by Faisal Sheikh, said to be the LeT's western India commander.
He said the two were willing to confess to their roles and the part played by the other blasts accused, including the 11 Pakistani bombers who participated in the attack.
Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy confirmed the development. "Two of the blasts accused have indicated their willingness to confess and turn approvers," he told HT. "Their confessions would help the ATS prepare a case against all of the blasts accused that will stand the scrutiny of the court."
Roy said he was confident that police would be able to produce adequate material and corroborative evidence that would stand the scrutiny of the trial court. "Since we have applied the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to the case, the confessions of the accused made before the appropriate authority, police officers of the rank of DCP and above, would be admissible," he said.
Roy said the evidence the ATS had included cotton swabs indicating the presence of RDX at Faisal's Bandra flat, the statements of flat-owners in Borivali (East) and Malad where Faisal had housed the 11 Pakistanis since May, circumstantial evidence recovered from the Govandi shanty where the explosives were made, and 26,000 Saudi riyals that were recovered from Faisal's flat.
Other ATS officers said police were in the process of collecting more evidence and needed a fortnight to tie up the loose ends. In Delhi, Menon, who took charge from Shyam Saran, said the success of the new joint mechanism against terrorism -- agreed to by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- would depend on how Pakistan acted.
Menon, who was high commissioner to Pakistan before being appointed foreign secretary, said, "We will judge its (mechanism's) success or failure by how it (Pakistan) deals with it (terrorism)." He said terrorism had always been a "big issue" with Islamabad.
Referring to Mumbai Police's Saturday statement about the involvement of the ISI and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, he said, "This is something we will certainly take up with the government of Pakistan in view of the new evidence. And we will judge them (Pakistan) not by immediate reaction or verbal statements, but by what actually they do about terrorism."
Menon said, "You have heard what is the evidence that has been found in Mumbai and it seems to me logical that the (joint) mechanism has to deal with this kind of evidence."
Menon, a 1972 batch IFS officer, succeeded Saran who has retired and has been appointed special envoy on negotiations with regard to the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
First Published: Oct 02, 2006 01:09 IST