New Delhi: India on Monday called Pakistan's bluff as it said the Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was never arrested in connection with the 2008 carnage even though Interior Minister Rehman Malik made such a claim as he was "misinformed".
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said India had made it clear that bringing to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attack was of "paramount importance" to ensure that the Indo-Pak peace process proceeded in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence.
Shinde stated this in a suo-motu statement in both Houses of Parliament amid demands by the BJP for cancellation of upcoming Pakistan cricket team's tour of India and suspension of talks till the perpetrators of Mumbai attack were brought to justice.
Informing Parliament about his talks with Malik, Shinde said it was clear from the papers given to India that the detention of Hafiz Saeed between 2002 and 2009 were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
"Mr Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Mr Hafiz Saeed thrice and that on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence," he said.
"From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Shri Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Therefore, I can only say that Mr Rehman Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter," Shinde said.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, which is responsible for carrying out a series of attacks in India, including the 2001 attack on Parliament.
On a larger plane, Shinde said it was stated that terrorism is affecting all aspects of the relationship and that the menace must be dealt with effectively.
He said he especially mentioned to Malik the fact that India's investigations have shown that Hafiz Saeed was one of the masterminds of the 26/11 attack conspiracy and Pakistan has yet to take effective action to charge him.
Shinde said he reiterated the value of the voice samples for establishing the identity of those who were audacious to be caught on tape while directing the attackers.
He said India has already conveyed its approval to Pakistan Judicial Commission's visit to India to complete the "cross examination" of four witnesses.
India also emphasised to the Pakistan side the need to ensure that the revised terms of Reference/Agreement needed to be worked out carefully in consultation with senior law officers of both sides so that this time there are no legal lacunae.
Shinde also emphasised the need to respond to the Letters Rogatory sent to Islamabad following the investigation by the National Investigation Agency.
Referring to the cases of non-compliance of Red Corner Notices against the absconders of 1993 Mumbai blasts case in which 400 people were killed, the Home Minister said this was a blot on bilateral cooperation in bringing fugitives from law to justice.
The D-company operatives, led by Dawood Ibrahim, still evade arrest, Shinde said, while noting that the US had recently designated Ibrahim has a "specially designated global terrorist" and another person of his group as "a drug kingpin."


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