Pillai reveals truth behind US claims on providing info on Headley

The United States of America had recently made a claim that it had provided information regarding David Headley, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative and also FBI agent turned rogue. However there was an outburst from the Home Secretary of India, G K Pillai who negated the claim by the US and said that none of the information provided were specific in nature and there is much more India could have done had there been more specific information.

Pillai says that he wished that there was more information which had come through from the US regarding this aspect as it would have helped India curb such a horrific attack. In this interview with rediff.com, Pillai says, I have said what I had to say and that is the whole truth about the matter.

Sir, if India is so confident that the US has not shared information about David Headley then why do you think US is propagating differently?

I cannot answer that question and you will need to ask them about it. I have said what I have to say.

Do you think such a stand is being taken to cover the intelligence failure on part of India?

That is not correct. The US had made a statement about David Headley and we thought we must respond to that. Had we had specific information regarding Headley, what could have prevented all our agencies from acting upon it? He had made several trips to India and if there was information we would have surely carried out the arrest and prevented such a horrific attack from taking place.

Can you blame the US entirely for an intelligence failure regarding David Headley?

They had information regarding Headley. Information regarding Headley started to trickle into India in a very late stage. Yes India is disappointed that proper of specific information regarding Headley was not provided. There was opportunity to provide information prior to the attack, but it was never specific in nature. What has disappointed us more is that information was not provided even after the attack. Information coming in after the attack too would have been helpful to us.

So what is the extent of information that has been shared with our intelligence agencies? Was the US very forthcoming regarding the intelligence pertaining to the Mumbai attack?

I think I have already said that the information regarding Headley was not specific in nature. We were not told the name of the person. Had we known more about him, we would have not spared a single effort to nab him and prevent this attack. Yes there is a claim that the information which had come through was forthcoming in nature, but I would have to say that it is partly true. I am not denying the fact that no information was shared. All I am trying to say is that we would have been happier had they shared more and done more regarding this.

You say that you would have been content had they given information regarding Headley after the attack also. What use is such information of considering the damage was already done?

You are aware that Headley had come to India four months after the attack. Had we had information at that point of time, we would have easily nabbed him. That would have helped the investigation a great deal. It was a case of a huge magnitude and there were many lose ends in it which needed to be solved. It was over a period of time once more information regarding Headley came out did we realize what an important link he was to the case. That is why I said had we got information regarding this man after the attack, it would have been helpful to us.

The Indian agencies have interrogated Headley. Are you happy with the information that has come out after that interrogation?

I would not like to go into the details of that. The fact of the matter is that he has visited India 8 times before the attack and once after that. He has conducted a recee extensively and the information with us shows that he has shot videos and made sketches of 50 different targets. This information is with the militant groups and it is worrisome that they may use it to carry out further attacks. When all this factors are taken into account, it was very important that we had the right information to nab him. ( during the interrogation of Headley, it was revealed that when he returned in the year 2009, he conducted reccees of Delhi, Goa and Pune. He also had on his radar the National Defence College and the videos and sketches of the same had been handed over to Pasha, a commander in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba who was originally a member of the Pakistan army)

Will there be fresh efforts made to hand over Headley when the US president is down in India?

I do not know about that.

As we speak, a statement from the US indicates that there is a slight change in stand. They are now saying that no specific information was given to India regarding what we are speaking about.

I don’t know about that. I have said what I have had to say regarding this.

Can you tell us about the security measures taken ahead of the Obama visit?

We do not want a repeat of what happened ahead of the Clinton visit. I cannot pin point the specifics to you, but all I can say is that all necessary precautions have been taken. When we take the security aspect over all, there is a lot that is needed to be done. We have problems in our borders and we are working on it.


A unique journey to remember martyr’s of 26/11

The father of 26/11 matyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan has embarked upon a unique journey. K Unnikrishnand along with a cycling enthusiast Hiralal have commenced their journey from the India Gate in New Delhi on a bi cycle and will reach the Gateway of India on November 26 2010.

This is not a ride for my son alone who lost his life two years back at the Taj Mahal Hotel. This is for all matyrs who lost their lives during that horrific attack in Mumbai two years back. I had said earlier too that not many remember the matyrs who lost their lives during the 1971 war. I don’t want the same thing happening in case of the 26/11 attacks too and this ride is just a way of telling people that the men who laid down their lives should never be forgotten.

After a small prayer in front of the India Gate in New Delhi, Unnikrishnan along with Hiralal commenced their ride. They cycle at least 6 to 7 hours a day and cover nearly 100 kilometres. We do not have any fixed schedule as such. We begin the day early at around 6 and cycle continuously till around 10. We then take a break and commence our journey at 3 PM and wind up by 7 pm. However these timings could vary if we feel we have fallen short of the distance covered.

Unnikrishna who will be reaching Agra tomorrow in the evening says they are not following any kind of special diet during the ride. We have carried along with us dry fruits and grapes. Rotis constitute my main diet and even while I am in Bangalore I followed the same diet. Water is the only problem for us and hence we have carried with us ample stock of mineral water.

My wife too is part of this exercise. She follows us on a four wheeler and she is a major source of strength for me. I would not say that I am tiring during the ride. Cycling has always been a passion for me and hence this is not new to me.

The idea to embark on such a journey was floated by Hiralal who hails from Kanyakumari. He had said that we should do something for the matyrs and I was keen to oblige. Hiralal is experienced in cycling and having him along side me has been a major help and inspiration to me.

This ride will have many other activities too. In a couple of days we will start interacting with school children and other people from the villages. We will tell them the importance of remembering our matyrs. As I mentioned last time the general feeling is that this country is going down the drain and we want to tell the people not to lose hope. We also plan on planting several saplings along the way.

We would like to have many interactive sessions with the people whom we meet along the way. There is a need to instill faith and confidence in the people about our country. However my aim is not to speak about my son or on joining the army. I believe that the decision to join the army should never be influenced upon someone. As regards to my son, I will speak about him only if someone asks me about him.

We will be reaching the Gateway of India on November 26 where we will end our journey. On November 27 I will be at the Taj Mahal hotel at the same spot where Sandeep laid down his life.

Ajmer blast case investigation getting complicated

The filing of the Ajmer blasts chargesheet and also the mention of top notch RSS leader, Indresh Kumar had created quite a stir. The 806 page chargesheet which was filed last week takes a lot of names, but the real challenge before the investigating agency would be to join the dots in order to reach a final conclusion in the case.

There are a lot of high profile names such as Indresh Kumar, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Aseemanand which find a mention in this chargesheet. Legal experts who have seen the chargesheet point out that there are many loop holes in the existing chargesheet and there are a lot of dots that need to be joined for the ATS to come to any sort of conclusion at the end of it failing which they could face problems while answering the court.

The strongest charge that the ATS has against Indresh Kumar in the chargesheet is that he had addressed a meeting in the year 2005 at the Gujarati Samaj guest house at Jaipur. The meeting comprised Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Swami Aseemnand from the Abhinav Bharath. This meeting was carried out to discuss the Ajmer blasts according to the ATS. The ATS goes on to state that the room was booked by Sunil Joshi under the name of Manoj Kumar. In addition to this the ATS also claimed that Aruna Jain the manager of the guest house had admitted that Sunil Joshi had booked a claim that she has denied now. The denial by Aruna had prompted the ATS to get a copy of the register belonging to the guest house and interestingly this was done only after the chargesheet was filed.

The problem now for the ATS would be to join the dots regarding this meeting in order to justify taking Indresh Kumar’s name in the chagesheet, experts and former police officials point out. The ATS will need to seek time from the court to interrogate several persons who could be the possible link between that meeting and Kumar. Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur name which is mentioned in the chargesheet is the biggest link for the ATS in order to prove that Kumar was present at that meeting. However her advocates say that till date she has not taken the name of Kumar during her interrogation. Moreover there are no immediately plans to interrogate her either, since according to her advocate Ganesh Sovani no such intimation has been given so far.

The late Sunil Joshi was a vital link in this case. His name has been doing the rounds in the both the Ajmer and the Maleagon case ever since the arrest of the Sadhvi. Investigators claim that he was crucial to the case, but he was shot dead a couple of years ago as a result of which the Malegaon blast was allegedly planned to avenge his death.

The other three persons in this case are Sandee Dhange and Ramji Kalasanghra. Both these persons have been shown as the one of the key accused persons in this case. However both these men are absconding according to the ATS . These two men who have been termed as low lying cadres are said to have executed the blasts. Their names had cropped up in the Mecca Masjid blasts case too. The other man who the ATS would have to nab and interrogate is Swami Aseemanand. A couple of months back when both the Mecca Masjid and Ajmer cases had started rolling the name of this god man had come up. Originally from Bengal, he had started working with tribals in Gujarat and he is believed to have re-convert the tribals who had been converted to Christianity. Sources in the investigating agency say that they have been trying to track him down and are finding it hard since he is believed to be hiding in the forest area. They also believe that he may have the answers to both the Mecca Masjid and the Ajmer case.

The other issue which is before the ATS is the turn that this case has taken since the past one year. It was the same ATS which had stated that the Ajmer blasts were the handiwork of the HuJI. They had carried out a couple of arrests too in this regard and had even said that it was the same faction which had carried out the blasts in Mecca Masjid as well. The counsel for the accused persons now are likely to take up this defence. Legal experts say that this not a fatal defect but the ATS will have a lot of explaining to do to explain as to why they have towed this line now.

Sources in the investigation say that they are aware that there is a lot of work remaining in this case. The charghesheet had to be filed since there is a time frame to do so failing which the accused persons will be entitled for bail. We are building the case up and will take it step by step and ensure that we have a strong case on hand. One should not come to the conclusion that the case is weak already, sources also pointed out.

ISI hand in Blore blasts and Kalamaserry bus burning

The National Investigating Team has commenced interrogation of three persons in Bangalore with suspected ISI links. A team of the NIA which visited Bangalore sought the permission of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to interrogate T Nasir, Abdul Jabbar and Sarfaraz Nawaz.

There is an interesting turn of events with this interrogation since the NIA finds that the Bangalore serial blasts and the horrific Kalamaserry bus burning case of 2005 are inter linked. It is the same faction which has undertaken both the incidents and the investigating team are finding a direct ISI link to both the incidents.

Both T Nasir and Nawaz were picked up in connection with the Bangalore serial blasts case. Their leaders and their factions are directly under the control of the ISI the investigators say. The bus burning incident took place in the year 2005 in protest against the arrest of Abdu Nasar Maudani. It has been found that Nasir was part of that incident and he had organized forces to carry out that incident. Maudani currently is housed in a Bangalore jail for his alleged role in the Bangalore serial blasts. The allegation against him is that he had met with Nasir during the planning stages of the Bangalore serial blasts.

Sources pointed out that investigations into this aspect would take a while more. They would interrogate Maudani’s wife, Sufiya Maudani too in this regard since she had been made one of the accused in the year 2005 following the bus burning incident.

Muslim law board to file Ayodhya appeal next week

The appeal in the Ayodhya case will be filed before the Supreme Court of India in the first week of November, a senior member of the All India Muslim Law Personal Law Board said. Professor Sulaiman, senior member of the Board who has been in the core committee told rediff.com that the final copy is more or less ready and the appeal will be filed before the Supreme Court in the first week of November.

On the line of arguments that they would advance before the Supreme Court of India, he said that the main point of contention would be that that the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court is more of a suggestion than a direction. It is not possible to implement such an order and more importantly the very foundation of their case has not been considered while the order was passed. He further said that various issues had been framed during the course of the arguments before the High Court and the final judgment was not pronounced on the basis of the issues that were framed.

When asked about the possibility of a settlement as suggested by the High Court, he said that the question does not arise. Even now despite the High Court saying that the land be divided into three parts the other party continues to insist that we Muslims let go of the entire land. Nothing has changed in the past 19 years. In the past two decades we have had discussions 11 times and each of those times, we were told to let go of the land.

Testing My day on Coverit Live

la href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&task=viewaltcast&altcast_code=eabebde936″ >iPhone on staging

How India needs to tackle fake currency menace

On one hand India speaks of taking preventive measures to curb the menace of fake currency and on the other statistics show that there is nearly Rs 12,00,000 crore worth of fake currency still in circulation in India.

While India managed to seal the Pakistan and Nepal route into India to a large extent, ISI sponsored operatives shifted their base to Thailand to further their business. These elements have been pumping in fake currency into the Indian market with help of operatives of the D Gang who have a strong base in Thailand.

The key player today in this racket is Aftab Bhakti, a D Gang operative who reports directly to Major Ali and Arshad Khan, both top ranking officers in the ISI. Bhakti has become a key player ever since the ISI decided to shift base to Thailand and this man was picked since he has been operating out of there for nearly a decade now. During his earlier stint, he coordinated with the mafia in Thailand on behalf of the D-Gand and they were primarily into smuggling of drugs. The D-Gangs network is very deep rooted in Thailand and there was already an existing route between this country and Bangladesh through which drugs were being smuggled. Moreover this particular route was not on the radar of the Indian agencies and hence the ISI thought it would be best to use this route to transport fake currency.

Earlier all the notes were being printed in Pakistan and then it used to be transported into Nepal and then made its entry into India. However post 26/11 there has been a sea change in the manner in which Indian agencies have been treating both the Nepal and Pakistan borders which prompted the ISI to rethink its strategy. In the current scenario the notes are being printed in Thailand and then local operatives smuggle it into Bangladesh and then pump it into India.

Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that they have shared information to this effect with the Central Bureau of Investigation which is looking into this case in India. The IB says that earlier the ISI had managed to create its own route and were sending in the notes through operatives who infiltrated into India. However there is a lot of scrutiny now and hence they are unable to do so easily. Moreover there is also international pressure on this issue and that is when the ISI thought it would be best to move the operation to Thailand and more importantly use the route used by the D-Gang to further their business. Even today the routes used by the D Gang are considered to be potentially safer since the scrutiny on its members is comparatively less when compared to operatives of a terror outfit.

The IB says that the ISI is using the D Gang for the same purpose which it used it to smuggle arms and ammunition just before the 1993 blasts. The D Gang which was actively smuggling drugs in and out of Pakistan were given an ultimatum by the ISI to smuggle arms along with the drugs into India if they wanted to continue with their business. The same tactic has been used now too by the ISI this time around too. Intelligence bureau officials say that in the days to come they will use more routes such as the one existing in Dubai too to transport fake currency into India.

Experts point out that the reason why fake currency continues to exist in India despite all the security restriction is due to the meager control we have on the paper. Almost 98 per cent of the paper which is used to print Indian currency is exported from European nations. Currently India relies on 11 firms abroad to import paper. This means that India does not have absolute control over the security features and are heavily reliant on these firms. When the paper is imported security features such as water mark, magnetic thread, and also the windowed security thread are already existing. Experts say that it is not hard for these terror groups to get access to these notes and they have already done so in the past. All they need to do is incorporate micro lettering and also the face of the father of the nation into it which is the easiest job since the rest of the main security features come ready made.

It is time for India to rethink about this aspect. Guarding the borders and other entry points will only solve ten per cent of the problem since these persons will continue to innovate and create newer routes to smuggle in fake currency. India needs to stop depending on foreign nations completely to manufacture paper and should ensure that it is entirely done here so that the entire control rests here.

Karnataka: IT raids on BJP MLA’s

Sleuths of the Income Tax department have conducted raids on the residences and offices of two BJP MLAs and have seized unaccounted money according to sources. Raids were conducted in 60 different places this morning and have also seized documents.

Sources told rediff.com that raids were conducted at the residences and offices of Suresh Babu and Nagendra. Their offices at Bellary, Bangalore and also their residence were raided and searched by IT department officials. The sleuths have seized money which is unaccounted and documents. The two leaders will be questioned further in this regard. Sources also maintained that more such raids will be conducted in the days to come.

The raids coincide with the statements of Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa who after winning his second trust vote had said that he would launch an inquiry into the unaccounted and illegal money that had been used to horse trade MLAs in Karnataka leading to destabilizing of his government.

Key RSS man linked to Ajmer Blasts

The Central Bureau of Investigation today named an important person in the RSS in the chargesheet pertaining to the Ajmer blasts. Indresh Kumar whose name had been doing the rounds for quite some time finds himself today in the chargesheet and the man himself has denied any involvement in the case and has termed it as a political conspiracy.

Indresh Kumar, is the national executive member and the sah prachar pramukh in the RSS. His name cropped for the first time when prime accused in the Malegaon blasts, Colonel Shrikanth Purohith revealed the same.

The ATS which was investigating the case had said that Purohith had a grouse against Kumar since he believed that the latter was responsible for killing of Hindus in Nepal. It was also said that Purohith believed that it was Kumar who had leaked information about him and Sadhvi Pragya Singh to the police which eventually led to their arrest.

Indresh Kumar has been in the thick of the action at all times. He had played an active role in the Amarnath stir and also the Jammu issue. He had spent years coordinating activities of the Sangh Parivar in the region. Apart from this he had also coordinated the activities of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, an affiliate of the RSS which terms itself as a nationalistic organization of the Muslims. In the RSS circles, Kumar was no ordinary man and many term him as one of the most dynamic leaders.

Problems for Indresh Kumar started only once the interrogation of Purohith commenced. Purohith claimed that he had met with the RSS Sarsanghchalak in Jabalpur in the year 2009 to complain about Kumar. Purohith who was part of the Abhinav Bharath had said that Kumar was responsible for the death of Hindus in Nepal. Investigators told rediff.com that the problem was a difference of opinion. Kumar felt that democracy should be restored in Nepal while Abhinav Bharath felt that King Gyanendra ought to be supported. Purohith felt that supporting democracy meant supporting the Maoists in Nepal which in turn led to the death of many Hindus.

CBI sources told rediff.com that the name of Kumar has now cropped up in the chargesheet since they have information that he was part of a meeting held in Jaipur in which six others were present. The information with us suggests that the meeting that was held was to plan the Ajmer blasts. We are yet to investigate further into the matter, sources also pointed out. There were five others in that meeting of 2005 and once we are able to corroborate all that can we come to a final conclusion, sources further pointed out.

Ganesh Sovani, advocate for Sadhvi Pragya Singh, an accused in the Malegaon blasts case says that this is ridicoulous. This is a meeting that has taken place in 2005 and the investigating agency is not sure about it too. They have not been able to prove till date the conspiracy in the Malegaon case. There is a claim that Sadhvi had revealed the name of Kumar, but to the best of my knowledge she has never taken his name. In this case only Sameer Dange and Kakasangra have been shown as the wanted accused. Both Sadhvi and Kumar are not shown as wanted accused and that leads to suspicion. If the charge was really that strong then the CBI would not have let him roam around and would have picked him up immediately. There is no warrant against Sadhvi too in this case.

Deve Gowda questions CJ’s order in rebel MLA case

Former Prime Minister of India, H D Deve Gowda has cast aspersions on the order of the Chief Justice of Karnataka with regard to the order passed by him in the case pertaining to the 11 rebel BJP MLAs. Addressing media persons in Bangalore he questioned the order of the Chief Justice which had upheld the order of the speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in which 11 rebel BJP MLAs were disqualified.

Gowda said that the Chief Justice should introspect in this regard. This is the second allegation being made against the Chief Justice in the past three days. On Monday another MLA, Vishwanath too had made a similar allegation against the Chief Justice. These allegations come in the wake of the Chief Justice sharing the dais with Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa at the Mysore Dusshera celebrations that were held last week.

Gowda also accused both the Congress and the BJP in Karnataka of making attempts to finish off regional parties. He said that desperate attempts were being made to wipe out regional parties from Karnataka and other parts and such things ought to stop immediately.

Meanwhile the Congress in Karnataka has launched a second round of protest against the ruling BJP. The Congress leaders have been protesting the horse trading of their MLAs by the BJP.