Saudi Arabia is perceived to be doing a balancing act before handing over terror suspect Fasih Mohammed to New Delhi as the authorities are trying to ascertain the veracity of charges that he is involved in bomb blasts.
Suspected to be part of the banned Indian Mujahideen, Fasih, 28, is wanted by the police of Delhi and Karnataka for his suspected role in shooting near Jama Masjid two years ago and in the Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore. Interpol issued a red corner notice this year after the intelligence agencies here tipped their Saudi counterpart of Fasih’s hideout.
The Saudi authorities detained the engineer-turned-terror suspect, but are learnt to be taking time as they want to be doubly sure before agreeing to either deport or extradite him.
Sources said the Saudis do not want to be seen as giving in to every demand from New Delhi, a perception that has emerged after media overkill on 26/11 key handler Abu Jundal’s deportation in June.
Authorities in Riyadh had rebuked their Indian counterparts over the way minute details of government-to-government interaction on Jundal’s deportation were leaked to the media.
Ministry of Home Affairs officials, however, are still confident of getting Fasih deported to India, as they did in Jundal’s case, wherein it took them almost a year for getting the custody of Mumbai terror attack handler. But, they accept that media coverage had upset Saudis who don’t want to publicise such moves for fear of backlash.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and National security advisor Shivshanker Menon, in their separate addresses to the DGPs’ conference organised by thee Intelligence Bureau a week back, cautioned against leaks.
Menon had told the DGPs about the Saudi government’s unhappiness over the media reporting of Jundal’s deportation. The NSA was of the view that international ramification terror cases should he handled with secrecy, as leaks had the “dangerous propensity of international embarrassment”.