Pak assures access to voice samples, Bill before House


Pakistan has assured India that it will provide the voice samples of Mumbai 26/11 suspects using a Bill that is likely to be passed by the National Assembly soon. The 'Investigation for Fair Trial Bill 2012' was tabled in the Assembly in September. Once its becomes an Act, Pakistan can collect the voice samples of Mumbai terror suspects.

The decision was conveyed to India during the bilateral meeting between Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik at Rome.

Malik assured that Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), probing Mumbai 26/11 attacks, will collect the voice samples of the suspects and produce it before a Pakistani court. India can collect the voice samples from the FIA using the letter rogatory (LR).

However, MHA sources said a fine reading of the draft Bill shows that it does not allow the FIA probing the Mumbai 26/11 attacks to record the voice samples of suspects without their consent.

MHA officials believe that the draft Bill does not have provisions to record the voice samples. "They can only obtain the voice samples by bugging the prison cell or record their conversation over phone," said an MHA official.

"It is also possible that Pakistan is trying to buy more time for the voice samples as there is strong opposition to the draft Bill in their own country," explained the official.

Pakistan, in its draft Bill, says, "...that the existing laws neither comprehensively provide for nor specifically regulate advance and modern investigative techniques such as covert surveillance and human intelligence...wire-tapping and communication interception that are used extensively in other jurisdiction to successfully prevent the offence..."

It empowers the investigation agencies to carry out 'surveillance' and 'interception' but does not allow them to record the voice samples.

... contd.

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