Goof-up on fugitives list wake up call for agencies: PC

Goof-up on fugitives list wake up call for agencies: PC

He also said that the goof-up does not damage government's credibility and it will "not change the dynamics" of Indo-Pak relationship or the status of discussions between them.

Chidambaram also dismissed suggestions that after this blunder, Pakistan will grow dismissive about India's repeated requests to handover terror suspects sheltered in that country.

"I don't think it damages credibility. I think it is a wake up call for the agencies to become more professional," he told Karan Thapar on 'Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN. He was asked whether he would accept that the goof-up damaged the governments credibility even in a small part if not in a big way.

Chidambaram was asked whether the government owed an apology to the two persons named in the fugitives list as hiding in Pakistan but were actually living in India. "I don't think this is a case we owe an apology to anyone. We expressed regret that there was a genuine human error in not updating the list. To that extent, we have expressed regret and we remain regretful. But I think we have carried the argument too far," he said.

He said the two (named in the list living in India) were fugitives of justice. Red Corner Notices were indeed issued to them. Subsequently they were arrested.  Chidambaram said it is not right to exonerate them at this stage.

"They are accused in grave charges. The mistake was not removing their names from the Red Corner Noticees list and consequently the mistake of by including them in the list handed over by the Home Secretary. I think you are carrying too far by saying that the two are innocent people."

Asked about the implications of the goof-up in the eyes of Pakistan and whether they would be dismissive of the Indian list he said,"I doubt it. See, these lists were exchanged in 2004, in 2007, in 2011. Pakistan has always been dismissive whenever we gave the list in 2004, 2007. They never acted on any list.

To a question whether the mistake would change the dynamics of Indo-Pak relations, he said, "it is embarrassing, but it will not change the dynamics of the the relationship between India and Pakistan or status of discussions because Pakistan has always been dismissive of these lists".

Chidambaram pointed out that soon after the lapse became public he had returned from a trip from Tripura and was "the first to immediately call the press and say we take responsibility".

"Since the list was handed over formally by the Home Secretary, we have taken, what I would call, constructive responsibility," he added. To a question on criticism that people say it is "incompetence" on the part of the government as a whole and not just the Home Ministry, he said "well, thats a very harsh word. It's a mistake or two mistakes...now if you want to raise it to the level of incompetence, that's your call."

Asked whether India has the ability and the capacity to carry out similar operations in Pakistan like the Abbottabad operation, Chidambaram said such questions were being asked by people who were not aware about the special relationship enjoyed by the US with Pakistan.

"It's that special relationship, the special position, which the US security forces enjoy in Pakistan, it's the special privilege that is given to them that allowed them to carry out this exercise which, in every way was a brilliant exercise.

"We do not have those special privileges. Therefore, if the question is a theoretical question, can Indian forces carry out a special operation in a country, under certain circumstances, that's the way the question should be framed. I would say we have some capacity, but we have many constraints too," he said.

On ISI chief Shuja Pasha's reported declaration that Pakistan has the contingency plan in place in case India carries out special operations, the Home Minister said he did not attach too much credence to the statement.

"If that statement is true, if it's not being denied subsequently, I think it's just bluster," he said. Asked whether the link between ISI and 26/11 Mumbai terror attack has been established, Chidambaram said of the five persons reigned or tried along with Tawahur Hussain Rana in a Chicago court, one is an ISI operative.

"One is an ISI operative, and one has close links with the ISI. So, I think the link with ISI is prima facie established, more than prima facie established, but it has to be proved in a trial," he said.

The Home Minister said when he told his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik that not only non-state actors, but state actors were also involved in Mumbai terror attacks, he had denied it.

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