Masterminds of 1993 Mumbai blasts hiding in Pak safe havens: Shinde

Last Updated 06 November 2012, 09:26 IST

With Dawood Ibrahim, the man behind the 1993 Mumbai bombings, still out of its reach, India today said the masterminds of the heinous serial blasts are sitting in safe havens in Pakistan which has taken no action against them despite being provided with credible evidence.

Addressing the Interpol General Assembly here, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said India continues to face a "high degree" of terrorist threats on several fronts, in particular of cross-border terrorism.

"Terrorism in South Asia has increasingly emerged as an effective strategic weapon," he said.

The Home Minister said in spite of regular dialogue with the neighbouring country and handing over of credible evidence to it, the masterminds of one of the most heinous act of terror of last century -- the 1993 Mumbai blasts -- in which 257 people died and 713 were injured were still sitting in safe havens and yet to be brought to book.

"Their presence in a neighbouring country is well known and Interpol Red Notices against them, who are Indian nationals, are pending since 1993," he said, in a clear reference to Pakistan, where underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and some others wanted in India are hiding.

Shinde said terrorist groups have demonstrated that with simple tactics and low-tech weapons, they can produce vastly disproportionate results as had happened in the 26/11 attack.

"Terrorist attacks have exacted a heavy toll of life and property. Terrorists have tried to disrupt our way of life by attempting to initiate the element of fear. Fortunately, the Indian society has time and again shown its resilience and refused to be overawed by the terrorist acts," he said.

Strongly favouring international cooperation to achieve visible results in curbing the menace, Shinde said New Delhi was committed to combating terrorism and extremism in all forms and manifestations as no cause genuine or imaginary can justify terrorism or violence.

"Government of India is committed to ensure that perpetrators of terrorist acts, their masterminds and conspirators are brought to justice and that prosecution and sentencing to the fullest extent of the law is ensured," he said.

The Home Minister said be it the Mumbai blasts of 1993, the 26/11 attack or the 9/11 attacks in the US, the inter- state nature of planning involved in all of them underscores the need for increased cooperation and coordination amongst intelligence and investigative agencies.

"India alone has 138 pending Red Notices of terrorists who are absconding and are likely to be in some foreign state. In all, we have 670 Interpol Notices of various kinds pending of which 577 are Red Notices," he said.

Shinde said terrorism by its methods and content rejects democratic and peaceful means of engagement and it attacks pluralism and multi-culturalism.

"Thus, for a liberal, democratic and diverse society and country like India - terrorism and terrorist groups pose a challenge which has to be countered and effectively defeated," he said.

Shinde said post 26/11, India has raised the level of preparedness to meet the increasingly sophisticated terrorist threats and enhanced the speed and decisiveness of the response to a terrorist threat or attack.

The Home Minister said most major terror attacks from the stage of conceptualisation to execution have their footprints in different countries and the investigative agencies get confronted with issues of jurisdiction, both international and inter-nation, when they try to collect relevant evidence and connect the dots.

"The investigations do not reach their logical conclusions or get inordinately delayed if they do, due to fuzziness involved in the protocols to be followed in soliciting cooperation.

"...May I venture to suggest that Interpol should study the feasibility of having some mechanism for getting informal investigation related requests like those for subscriber details, IP addresses, executed expeditiously through the companies holding such information," he said.

Shinde also appealed to the Interpol to facilitate investigation and prosecution of terror-related cases.

"It would also be better if it collects and makes available for the benefit of its member-states an online compendium of rules to be followed in various nation states for assistance in arrest, search, seizure, extradition, deportation, surveillance, collection of material evidence, examination and recording of evidence of witnesses, examination of suspects and the various agencies and departments involved in the process," he said.

(Published 06 November 2012, 09:26 IST)

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