The motive behind Pak’s plea for Kasab custody

Pakistan has reacted cautiously to the death sentence awarded to Ajmal , arrested during the terror siege on Mumbai in November 2008, and has withdrawn its request for the extradition of the terrorist from Faridkot.
Kasab’s fast-track trial and subsequent verdict has had little effect on , as it continues to drag its feet over taking action against the Mumbai terror attacks suspects roaming free in Pakistan.
Chander D Sahay, former chief of the India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing, believes that India took the right step by ignoring Pakistan’s plea for Kasab’s custody. In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, he explains the motive behind such a request by the Pakistan government.
What is your opinion on Pakistan’s attempts to seek the custody of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab?
Pakistan sought the custody of Ajmal Kasab to ostensibly try him in their courts. In my view, Pakistan took such a step to save him from going to the gallows. As in the earlier case (when terror suspect Rashid Rauf, accused of plotting the bombing of British flights, escaped from the custody of Pakistani police in Rawalpindi, while on his way to court. He was later reportedly killed in an American drone strike), Ajmal Kasab too would have escaped from custody and would have been subsequently killed in a drone attack by the United States.
Pakistan made a formal request for Kasab’s extradition through Interpol. Do you think India did the right thing by going ahead with the trial at such a stage?
I have pointed out the UK incident and told you exactly what would have happened (if Kasab had been extradited). Even in legal terms, I would say that our decision to go ahead with the trial despite the extradition request was right.
Kasab was a mere pawn; the masterminds of the 26/11 terror attack are still at large in Pakistan. Do you think India could have handed over Kasab in exchange for (Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder) Hafiz Saeed or the rest of the LeT top brass?
Pakistan will not act on the list of terrorists given to it by the Indian authorities under any circumstance, even if a deal were to be struck between the two countries. Let me remind you that according to the authorities in Pakistan, even (underworld don) Dawood Ibrahim is not traceable in Pakistan.
How will the judgment against Ajmal Kasab affect diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan?
This verdict against Ajmal Kasab would have no implications at all on Indo-Pak ties.

Do you think the 26/11 trial can be complete without India getting the chance to try alleged mastermind Hafiz Saeed?
The trial against him has already taken place in-absentia and he has been found guilty. This is a perfectly legal procedure. India did the right thing.
Do you think India should have waited to get access to (LeT operative) David Headley and then pronounced the verdict in the Mumbai terror attack case?
That was not necessary at all. He can be tried separately. The trial against David Headley can be conducted as when the investigating agencies file an additional or supplementary charge-sheet.
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Kasab mercy plea: Ball in President’s court

Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Ajmal Kasab , who was awarded the death punishment for his role in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai carnage, is sure to utilise all the appeal provisions that he has before him.
The ultimate appeal lies with the President of . However, at present, the President has 50 mercy petitions pending in her office. The normal practice is to take up these cases in the order in which it reached the President’s office. The question now is whether Kasab will wait have to wait till the other mercy petitions are disposed off by the President.
Legal experts told rediff.com that there is no hard and fast rule that mercy petitions should be disposed off in order. The President can take a call and take up the matter out of turn. The President must be satisfied that there is an extraordinary circumstance concerning this case and hence it must be taken out of turn. The President can also take into consideration the public sentiment involved in the case. Moreover, there is also no first come first serve policy that can be applied in so far as a mercy petition is concerned.Lawyers say that there is an imminent danger in keeping a mercy petition in cold storage for too long.
Justice Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court judge, points out that the Supreme Court on several occasions had stated that a mercy petition involves a death sentence and hence cannot be kept in the cold storage for too long. The highest court of the land had observed that a long period on a death row is an everyday suffering and hence it becomes a ground to commute a death sentence to life.
In case a prisoner on a death row feels that his mercy petition is being delayed, he can always approach the Supreme Court and quote this judgment.What the President will considerAlthough the President has the ultimate power to decide on the petition, an advise is always sought from the home ministry. There are certain points that the President would want cleared out before the death sentence is upheld.
Personality of the convict
Whether the convict is suffering from a mental disorder when committing the offence?
Had the court expressed any doubt regarding the evidence when handing out the sentence?
Has any fresh evidence cropped up to substantiate the claim of the appellant?
Was evidence considered before the sentence was handed out?
Was the death sentence given after a long delay in the trial and investigation?
Role of the peopleIt is not as though the public lose a right to say anything if they find that there is inordinate delay in the President deciding on a mercy petition.
They can approach the Supreme Court and file Public Interest Litigation preferably in a large group seeking a direction to the President to expedite the matter.
The Supreme Court can advise or direct the President to take up the matter and dispose it off.

26/11: Kasab to be hanged until death

Kasab 309th on list of convicts awaiting death

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai terror attacks, has been sentenced to death — the ultimate punishment available under the Indian Penal Code under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Read more

Looking for hangman

Kasab is likely to be executed at the Yerawada Prison in Pune. A person sentenced to death in Maharashtra is usually executed at the Yerawada prison or the Nagpur prison. But there is no hangman to carry out executions now. But authorities at the Yerawada jail in Pune are not worried about the unavailability of hangmen. “We have faced difficulties in the execution of 11 convicts in the Yerawada jail due to the lack of a hangman. Read more

What will be Kasab’s final days like

The death of the biggest mass murderer on Indian soil is evident with the special court handing out the death sentence to Ajmal Kasab. Even though he is a Pakistani national tried in the Indian court, all norms prescribed will apply to him since he has been convicted under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Read more

Rarest of rare case

The usage of the phrase ‘rarest of rare cases’ has a very interesting history attached to it in India. Read more

Symoblic customs before death sentence: Nib-breaking, red robes, fasting

There are many myths about the practice of awarding a death sentence to a convict. It is popularly believed, thanks to mainstream Hindi films, that the judge breaks his nib after pronouncing the sentence.According to legal experts, the nib-breaking custom was followed by judges during the British era. Judges believed that a pen that has been used to take away the life of a human being should never be used again. But the custom was discontinued in post-independence India. Read more

Majeed Memon on Kasab verdict

Pprominent senior advocate, told rediff.com that the verdict is a welcome one. Read more

Unprecedented security in Mumbai

A thick security blanket has been thrown in areas in the vicinity and checkpoints and security bunkers have been set up at all major junctions in the city. Read more

Madhuri’s motive was revenge


The Madhuri Gupta case is slowly unfolding, as investigators begin to make sense of the twisted life of the Indian High Commission staffer in Islamabad who was picked up for allegedly passing on information to Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Sources told rediff.com that during her interrogation, Gupta came as across as a very determined person who had no remorse about her actions.

Gupta told her interrogators that it was revenge that motivated her to do this. She denied having physical relations with her handler, Mudassar Rana (a Pakistani internal intelligence official), but acknowledged the fact that she did leak out ‘not so sensitive’ information.

Although her interrogators are trying to ascertain if she got any remuneration, Gupta is sticking to her stand that her actions were only aimed at seeking revenge against her higher ups.

Gupta’s determination to take revenge did not start when she was posted in Pakistan. Prior to this, she was an assistant director at the Indian Council of World Affairs at Sapru House in New Delhi following which she served at the Indian mission at Kuala Lumpur, Baghdad and also Croatia.

Gupta said she was humiliated in service by her higher ups at every posting. Even after her arrest, she asked, “What has taken you people so long to get to me?”

Investigators say that she had been passing on information by using her contacts in the Reaserach and Analysis Wing. Earlier, she used to meet Rana and share the information directly. However, as time went by Madhuri grew confident and started sending out e-mails directly to the Pakistan establishment. This is what helped Indian agencies to track her down.

Investigations have revealed that Gupta sent out at least six e-mails, which contained information about the India’s Afghan policy, Indo-Pak talks and also details of Intelligence officials posted in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arab nations.

She managed to get a lot of loose information from her contacts in the Indian establishment, investigators say.

Initially, the officials did not suspect her when she sought information since it was very general in nature. However, things changed when she started asking for details regarding the military.

Sources say that information regarding Indian policies, which she has leaked out, is not really a worry since it was not specific. But the information that Gupta shared regarding some IB and RAW officials working undercover in other nations needs attention. Indian intelligence say that information may not be of much use to the ISI, since the officials named by Gupta were debriefed and a damage control exercise was undertaken once Indian agencies got wind of her activities.

Spy scam: More than what meets the eye


The information allegedly passed on to Pakistani intelligence agencies by Madhuri Gupta while working in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was not very serious in nature, Intelligence Bureau sources told rediff.com on Tuesday.

Gupta, 53, a promotee officer of the ministry of external affairs, was arrested in New Delhi four days ago on charges of spying for Pakistan.

According to IB sources, Intelligence officials are currently interrogating her to probe her links with a RAW official currently posted in Islamabad.

“She had passed on minor information regarding India’s plans in Afghanistan. She was a second secretary in the Media and Information Cell in the Indian embassy in Islamabad. It is impossible to get information on sensitive matters in her position,” said an IB official.

He added that the RAW official under scrutiny, who might have been working with her in passing on information to Pakistan, could have leaked crucial information.

But IB officials are confident that no major information could have been leaked by Gupta as she had been put under the scanner several months ago. “We had managed to cut off her sources and were able to prevent a major information leak,” said the official.

During interrogation, Madhuri told IB officials that she had agreed to spy for Pakistan’s intelligence agencies as she was dissatisfied with her salary.

Gupta told her interrogators that when the Inter Services Intelligence had offered her a large amount of money to pass on information, she had readily agreed. She had reportedly been working for the Pakistan spy agency for nearly a year.

Intelligence officials are interrogating Gupta to find out if another Indian was involved in the spying operation.

IB officials are trying to ascertain the role played by the RAW official in the whole affair.

“We need to find out if he had passed on any information. He could have discussed certain pieces of information to her casually, without being aware of Gupta’s plan. But he did abuse his position by discussing confidential information with a person who had no access to such information. We don’t have concrete proof of his involvement but we are investigating the matter,” said an IB source.

The IB sources also informed that they are probing the role of a man called Rana, who is believed to be Gupta’s handler in Pakistan.

They suspect that she was involved in a romantic relationship with him, and he could have been the man who got her in touch with the ISI.

The doctor who made education a business


The Central Bureau of Investigation has made several inroads into the illegitimate sources of income of Ketan Desai, chairman of the Medical Council of India.

The CBI arrested Desai last week for allegedly demanding Rs 8 crore for granting recognition to Gian Sagar College, a medical college in Punjab.

After initial interrogation, the CBI recovered Rs 2 crore from Desai that CBI sources say was just an installment of the total money that he received from the college.

CBI sources have called Desai a “big catch”, as he might know the details of others involved in the scandal.

As investigation progresses, CBI officials are bound to find more about Desai’s dealings.

The CBI is also probing into Desai’s associates who may have supported him in the scam.

The investigation is at a very early stage and we are still questioning the accused, the CBI said.

On the basis of the several hours of interrogation of Desai, the CBI has found that the disgraced MCI chairman owns 10 houses in Gujarat alone. He also owns several properties that have been booked under names of other members of the family.

Till now, the CBI has managed to recover 1.5 kg of gold and 80 kg of silver after raiding Desai’s properties.

Desai’s wife is also under scanner, said the CBI, adding that she played a vital role in investing the money Desai demanded as bribes from the real estate in Gujarat.

The CBI has also taken into custody a Delhi-based middleman, the vice chairman of the medical college in question and an official of the college.

Desai’s arrest will help CBI officials in investigating the involvement of other middlemen involved in similar scams, as they believe that Gian Sagar College cannot be the lone college to have approached Desai for illegal permit.

“We are trying to find more information on the other deals that he (Desai) may have struck and we are quite sure that there could be a lot many,” sources from the investigation agency said.

The case so far:

According to the CBI, an inspection committee had had found several irregularities in the Gian Sagar College and had due, to lack of adequate infrastructure, refused permission to admit students.

A member from the college approached a middleman in Delhi who in turn contacted had allegedly Desai. The MCI chairman proposed a deal that if the college would pay him a bribe of Rs 8 crore, he would do away with the mandatory requisites needed for the college to qualify for admitting students.

It was agreed that Desai would he would help get the nod so that the college could start taking in students for the academic year 2010-2011.

In exchange for the bribe, Desai also ensured that the college could commence without any need to comply with the objections raised by the inspection committee.

What the CBI recovered from Desai:

A plot in Ahmedabad city; an investment of 20 lakh in Hindustan Home Finance Ltd; a property in Sun Building Pvt. Ltd, Ahmedabad; a plot in Land holding Sun Village Project, Sanand; gold worth Rs 39 lakh; bank accounts in the Ahmedabad branch of Bank of Baroda under the names of Desai and his family worth Rs 1.8 crore.

Swami’s run ends


Swami Nityananda, who has remained elusive since the sex scandal against him broke out, was arrested on Wednesday by a Bangalore Police team from Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

A court in Sriperambadur, Tamil Nadu, had directed the investigating agencies to carry out the arrest and produce him before the court on April 20. However, the police were unable to carry out the arrest.

The police finally tracked the swami down to Himachal Pradesh where he had been in hiding ever since the case emerged. However, sources told rediff.com that the swami will not be brought down to Bangalore, where he is facing charges, but instead produced before the Sriperambudur court.

The Bangalore police will then seek custody of the swami and conduct further investigation.

HS Chandramouli, counsel for the swami, did not confirm the arrest, but added that the anticipatory bail plea will now become infructitious.

He stated that if his client had indeed been arrested, he will move a fresh application seeking regular bail before the Ramnagar court near Bangalore under whose jurisdiction the swami’s ashram falls.

A local court in Ramanagara in Karnataka on Wednesday dismissed the anticipatory bail application filed by self-styled godman Nityananda Swami.

Session Court Judge Hungund dismissed the bail plea after it was brought to the court’s notice that Nityananda had been taken into custody.

The judge had on Tuesday posted the case for orders today.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka high court today posted the hearing of Nityananda’s petition, praying for quashing of criminal cases against him, on April 23.

Tharoor’s Twitternama


Ironically, it was Twitter that did Shashi Tharoor in. Though the former minister of state external affairs has maintained a stoic silence on the micro-blogging site ever since his unceremonious exit, his followers are on the rampage.

Perhaps more than Thiruvananthapuram, his constituency where he won from by more than one lakh votes, the biggest support for the beleaguered minister still comes from Twitter. While many have started online campaigns, others chose to tweet, expressing solidarity with the former United Nations diplomat. In cricketing parlance, some give him benefit of the doubt in the whole murky affairs of the Indian Premier League.

Not that there are no brickbats for Tharoor. Many aver that being a minister who holds an important portfolio, he should not have tweeted the way he did. Politics, they say, is a far more important game.

We spoke to a cross-section of people active on twitter, to gauge their opinion vis-a-vis Tharoor. Some quotes have been taken from Twitter, while others were contacted over the phone.

Piyush: Tharoor’s past tweets did not contain any serious offence. His trackrecord as a minister seems good. He was a perfect junior minister who worked like a donkey and committed too many errors to get any promotion.

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Arun Vipra: He is Twitter’s first victim. This is a lesson for Tharoor. I strongly believe that he will make a comeback and emerge stronger.

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Ullas Nair, Tiruvalla, Kerala: I always felt that right from the beginning Tharoor was not fit for the post. He should have been sacked long back when he first created the controversy on Twitter. He was not fit to hold that post and should have been more sensible while tweeting. One should understand that he is not a common man and cannot speak the way he wants. Holding such an important post, he should have been more prudent.

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Leo Mavely, Ahmedabad: It is rather unfortunate to see a minister with 24 years of spotless UN track record had to quit on alleged corruption charges. However, I feel he should have offered himself to a judicial inquiry to come clean on allegations and stay away from office until then. In politics, perception of corruption is more dangerous than corruption itself. He definitely had a long way to go as a minister who easily connected with public. Twitter has played an important role in his short stint but it didn’t cave him in, rather an unconvincing way of handling this allegation did.

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Nikhil Narayanan, voter from Thiruvananthapuram, now in Bengaluru: Painful to see Tharoor’s exit. Dear MP, given a chance, I’ll vote for you again and again.

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Biju Narayanan, voter, Thiruvananthapuram: On the brighter side, we could do better with a full-time MP

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Channamallikarjun Basavanagouda: Being the external affairs minister, he should not have tweeted about the government issues in public. All politicians are nothing but businessmen after all.

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CR: I have two things to say. Tharoor on Twitter: This is the first time a minister or an MP who was directly connecting to the people, many would be bots, but he did create his own following. This should be appreciated. He was speaking to people directly. This could not be digested by many leaders who wanted exclusives from the minister. So, first he created enemies within the media. They were waiting for a chance to get back at him. Last, but not the least, would the Congress allow a minister who is growing more popular than the Prince himself. Answers are not forthcoming. And also remember, the Congress has a long elephantine memory. Remember his holy cows & cattle class comments.

On Tharoor & IPL: He should have resigned the day the news about Sunanda Pushkar [ Images ] came out. It seems like Tharoor wanted to gate-crash into a party — read IPL– where he was not invited and made powerful enemies.

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Sudhir Kumar, Hyderabad: In my opinion, there is one more important question that the media has not asked Tharoor. In his statement, Thaoor has accused Lalit Modi [ Images ] is trying to scuttle the bid for Kochi. If he knew Lalit Modi was scuttling the bid for Kochi, did he not complain to the IPL governing council? If not, why? If he claims to be passionate about cricket, why didn’t he raise this at the appropriate forums?

As commissioner of IPL, Lalit Modi is supposed to act neutral. The charge that ST has laid is no small one — he has accused the IPL commissioner of being biased, and doesn’t it become ST’s responsibility to bring it to the notice of IPL governing council? As someone who claims to have come into the system to be the change, wasn’t it imprudent of him not to take up this issue before? His first aim might be an IPL team to Kochi and not cleaning up IPL, but as a public official, can he really escape with such an argument?

Another point is the debate about whether Tharoor is a “misfit” in Indian politics. It is a shame that Indian politics has been stereotyped by the likes of Farooq Abdullah [ Images ] and entering into the murky world by “sophisticated” folks is being seen as unwanted. I always admire Tharoor for choosing to fight elections, instead of taking the Rajya Sabha route. However, IPL has clearly bought out a murky side of him. It is unfortunate that the bigger fish still survive in the government while he had to go — but that same argument cannot be used to spare him of this impropriety.

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Saju Ramachandran, Bahrain: I feel let down by Tharoor, just as when a promising Sachin innings ends in a soft dismissal

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Joseph John: He should get a new OSD who doesn’t shoot his mouth off. An OSD’s job is to attract attention to his boss, not to himself

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Nakul Shenoy, Bengaluru: Does any media house have the gall to take up Tharoor’s side? We lose a most qualified & articulate minister to sick dirty politics?

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Aravindan: Remember your Stephanian Slogan “Shashi Tharoor Jeetega Zaroor”. Time will heal and time will tell a telling tale. We need you.

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Kenney Jacob on Twitter: Dear Gujarathis, We poor Keralaites didnt know that IPL was your family business. We apologise for having intervened.

The Death Of My Baby


June 23 2004 is one date I will never forget. It is a struggle I will
never forget. The day my tryst with technology began. Nokia had announced the launch of it’s 6600.
Browsing through the features online one thought came to my mind- could it get any better. A video camera a beautiful camera sync options and to top it all a blue tooth. I had to have it. But then the irony was- when will it launch in India? Those were the days when I took home a salary of Rs 6k and this phone cost 21000. Cut down on smoking, eating out and pulled out whatever little I had saved. I somehow
managed the money. Well then that done I had to figure out how I would lay my hands on the phone. Thought and pondered and as luck would have it a friend of mine told me he would be leaving for London. I left for his home at 9 PM on June 10 2004. Literally begged him to get the phone for me. After much argument whether it was worth spending so much on a phone he finally agreed and took the money from me.
Well the next 2 weeks were the best. The wait was never ending but worth it. A day before he landed I mailed him saying that I would meet him at the airport itself and also told him not to keep the phone in the check in luggage. He landed in Banalore at 2 AM and guess what, I was there to receieve him. He was irritated at first when I asked him where is the phone instead of how he was. He handed me the phone and I left for home before thanking him.
I must have rode back home like a maniac as I didn’t want to lose even a minute. At home I ripped the packet open and all through I kept shouting at my wife asking her how she could sleep when something so beautiful was about to happen. She couldn’t care less. I fixed the battery and inserted my Airtel sim and then switched it on. The display was something that I had never seen before. The sound of nokia on polyphronic was like the sexiest nightingale. I will never forget that moment as a tear rolled down my eye. I called office that morning and sought leave. Nirad my chief asked if you are sick why are u sounding as though you have had a child. I told him that I did have a child and I am too giddy with happiness. He didn’t argue.
The whole day was like a ride at Disney for me. The beauty was the more I did with it the more there was remaining. The cult phone of the world had arrived. Today every phone is derived from the 6600. Four years later too when I used to open the phone I used to wonder- wow man it can’t get any better.
Well I took care of it like my baby and never let it out of my sight. Well you guys might be wondering why I am writing all this. As much as I hate to say it this is an obituary to my 6 year old baby who died two days back. Really don’t want to go into the details of how and when since a death is a death and my baby has gone forvever. Before concluding I would like to take a moment to tell it that there is so much I learnt and I enjoyed every moment that I spent with you.
Wherever you are please be happy and remember I miss you like crazy. You were and will always remain the best. RIP :(((

Pak’s gimmick: Interpol’s help to get Kasab custody


Pakistan has made a last ditch attempt to get custody of Ajmal Kasab, the gunman from the Mumbai 26/11 attack whose fate will be decided on May 3. Pakistan has sought the help of the Interpol to get custody of both Kasab and Fahim Ansari who are standing trial in India in connection with the Mumbai case.

The question that is now being asked is if this move by Pakistan will have any effect on the sentencing of these two men which is slated for May 3? Experts say that India has got nothing to worry and this is nothing more than a gimmick in order to build up some pressure.

Joginder Singh, former chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation who was also the chief of the Interpol in India told rediff.com that Pakistan is trying to be holier than thou and this move by them is nothing but a gimmick. The Interpol is just a collection of bodies and is not bound by any legal framework. What the Interpol can do is issue a circular or a notice and circulate it. In the instant case, even if such a circular is issued and circulated it would have absolutely no bearing since Kasab or Ansari are not absconding and they are being held and tried legally in the Indian court. The court can go ahead with the sentencing and there is no need for us to respond to any such notice even if it is issued by the Interpol. The sentencing too can go on as scheduled since the Interpol has no legal bearing and the manner in which it works is through cooperation.

Justice Santosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India says that the Indian courts will not be deterred by such a notice as it will not apply at all. We are holding these men legitimately and they cannot be handed over if such a notice is circulated. Pakistan is just trying to apply some pressure on India and it is clear that they are doing nothing but stooping so low internationally. They are well aware that Kasab is in our custody and there is a legitimate trial that is going on. Pakistan does have the tendency of acting in this manner. I would have to say that this is just a counter measure on the part of Pakistan in response to the dossier sent by us in which we have sought for the extradition of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba heads. It is a very poor tactic being used internationally despite them being blamed for the attack. India should just not bother about this and go ahead and sentence the accused in the Mumbai attack.