New Delhi, July 15 (Calcutta Tube) As India and Pakistan held talks in Islamabad, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) here Thursday sought non bailable warrants against Pakistani anti-India hardliners and militants, including Hafeez Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, two officers of the Pakistani Army and two Pakistani civilians who are suspected to have plotted the Mumbai attacks.
In a new legal step before the Delhi district and sessions court, the NIA also withdrew petitions urging issuance of non-bailabale warrants (NBWs) against David Headley and Tahawwur Rana, the duo arrested in the US for their role in the Mumbai attacks.
The move came on a day External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad and pressed the latter to take concrete action to prosecute all involved in the Mumbai terror spree 18 months ago. Krishna referred to disclosures made by Headley that link Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, Saeed and others to the Mumbai attacks and cited it as ‘irrefutable evidence’, asking Pakistan to urgently act against them.
Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, both officers of the Pakistan Army and two Pakistani civilains, Sajid Mir and Abdul Rehman, are the four others besides Saeed and Lakhvi, against whom the NIA sought fresh issuance of NBWs. The FIR, which was filed in November last, had mentioned that the two Pakistani army officials were the ‘handlers’ behind the Mumbai terror attacks on Nov 11, 2008 in which 166 people were killed.
The NIA said it was withdrawing the NBW pleas against the Headley-Rana duo as they were in judicial custody in the United States, with India being provided access to them. India has an extradition treaty with the US.
NBWs were needed against Saeed and five others, so as to issue red corner notices against them, it was pleaded.
Sessions judge S.P. Garg, who heard the case, asked the NIA to present the copy of the case diary. All the six people are named as accused in the FIR filed by the NIA regarding the Mumbai terror attacks.
The FIR had mentioned the information provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It said the access to the two accused in the US and the six people in Pakistan was required to expose their terror plans against people and institutions in India.
Headley, Rana, Saeed, Lakhvi and the others have been booked under various charges including waging war against India, conspiracy and procuring arms and ammunition. Their crimes come under the ambit of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act.
The NIA said in the FIR that Headley and others contacted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and HuJI terrorists in 2006 for conspiring to conduct terror strikes in Mumbai, New Delhi and other cities and various institutions in India.
A senior security official said the new NIA plea for NBWs against Saeed and others have been taken after deliberations at the highest level. He said the access provided to Indian officials to question Headley-Rana, who are in custody in Illinois, was a ‘major success for the NIA to prove the case’.
‘Now the NIA has to wage its legal battle to question Saeed and others to prove the case completely,’ the official said. ‘The international community is increasingly convinced that Pakistani militants, anti-India elements and some rogue elements in the Pakistani establishment had planned and executed the Mumbai strikes,’ he said.