PC on Maha ATS-Delhi Police rift on 13/7 probe

The apparent rift between Maharashtra ATS and Delhi Police's Special cell over arrest of a person in the 13/7 Mumbai blasts came under focus of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram who said on Tuesday there should have been "better" exchange of information between the two forces.

The two police forces were locked in a row over the arrest of Naquee Ahmed by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad(ATS) in connection with the triple bombing while the same person was being used by Delhi Police to nab Yasin Bhatkal, one of the main accused in various bombings in the country.

Terming the case as "difficult", Chidambaram said the two agencies were working in their jurisdictions and were looking for the same person who has been on the run for quite sometime.

"Yes, they (Delhi Police) were certainly protecting that person and trying to nab the prime suspect (Bhatkal). These are difficult cases which are being investigated under very difficult circumstances.

"I wish nabbing a person on the run is as easy as some one makes it out to be. It is not so easy. These are difficult cases and, yes, I would have liked better exchange between Delhi police and Maharashtra ATS but as you know there are two different police and two different state governments and, therefore, there may have been inadequate exchange of information," the Home Minister said at his monthly press briefing.

He, however, said National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) would be an answer to all these operational hiccups.
"Once the NCTC is set up and all these terrorist cases are brought under it , it's possible to have much better exchange of information between two separate jurisdictions."

Chidambaram refuted suggestions that Government was not helping those who were assisting the security agencies.

"I think of all of you are jumping to conclusions. Sometimes we also do. The point is if you are referring to Yasin Bhatkal, the prime suspect, he has been on run for many months," Chidambaram said when asked whether Naquee was helping the Delhi Police to nab Bhatkal.

One agency has an informer and is working through the informer to nab the prime suspect and for another agency the same informer is identified as suspect through which they also want to nab the same person, he said.

"So I dont think there was any attempt by anyone to scuttle the other agency's effort. Both were working under their jurisdiction, both were looking for the same person and I don't think the person escaped just now as he has been on the run for nearly two years," the Home Minister said, ruling out any goof up in the case.

Seeking to put a lid on the controversy, he said it might appear "bit anomalous that an informer is also a suspect but if you reflect carefully it's not impossible that a person acts as an informer to one agency and also turns out to be a suspect in a case being investigated by another agency. It is not impossible."

Chidambaram also said that a meeting was held subsequently between Maharashtra ATS, Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau.

"I think at that meeting an attempt was made to reconcile the different versions.
"While I am not directly briefed about the meeting, I was told by the DIB that an attempt was made to reconcile the versions and a reconcilation has taken place.

Both Delhi Police and Maharashtar ATS are working closely on the case of this suspect and other informers," he said.

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