India says no to Saeed offer to be quizzed, wants him arrested
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Ahead of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team planning to visit Pakistan in connection with 26/11 probe, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, alleged mastermind of the attack, has offered himself to be quizzed by the Indian officials. However, India has said that it cannot question Saeed unless the Pakistan government agrees.
Saeed made the statement in an interview to CNN, where he also denied his role in the attack. "I condemn this attack and innocent lives that have been lost. I don't support this attack or any violence of this kind, but you don't even seem to believe me; I've said it so many times," he told CNN.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry has said that Saeed's questioning will have no legal value before the Indian court. "Saeed's questioning will not have any legal value. We have given a detailed dossier on Saeed and his role in Mumbai attack to Pakistan. They need to arrest and prosecute him for his role," said an MHA official.
A senior NIA official said the agency has ample evidence against him and it has been shared with the US agencies. "He is roaming freely. The US has declared a bounty of $10million on his head. He knows that his questioning by Indian agencies without being in custody will have no value. If he is willing to be examined, Pakistan's Federal Investigating Agency should question him," the official said.
But unlike many countries, India and Pakistan do not have Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). Using MLAT, NIA has earlier questioned LeT operative David Coleman Headley while he was in the custody of FBI. However, the statement recorded had no value in the Indian court.
Later, a letter rogatory (LR) was sent by India to the US. The NIA has also filed a chargesheet against Saeed and eight others. The NIA says Saeed was the one who motivated David Coleman Headleywho carried out reconnaissance for the attacks.
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