Lok Pal bill is Log Jam bill

Justice Hegde- Pic- manipalworldnews.com
People would like to call it the Log Jam bill instead of the Lok Pal bill. Yet another meeting and nothing concrete out of it except a war of words between the Government of India and the drafting committee of the Lok Pal bill. Well it is sure going to be a no impact bill and I really do not have any great expectations from it says, Justice N Santhosh Hegde, member of the drafting committee.
Justice Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India who is also the Lokayukta of Karnataka has been a target of many Congress leaders. Just last night he was even termed as a man of the Bharatiya Janata Party. With one contreversy after another, Justice Hegde says that comments are being made against him by those politicians who basically have no status. Here is what Justice Hegde has to say on the Lok Pal bill and also the comments against him by the leaders of the Indian National Congress Party.
On the Lok Pal bill what i say is that it would go through. However I would also add that the although the bill will go through it would do so only as a face saving excercise. The thing is that the people want the bill and hence there is no way in which the government scuttle it entirely.
However the big question is what type of a bill would it be? When we set out it was clear that it would cover virtually all those in power and powers would be given to act against those corrupt politicians and officials. However when I look at things today, I am sorry to say that the final bill may not include a lot of clauses which we have sought to include. No Prime Minister, no judiciary, restricted jurisdiction and also no powers to probe into militray deals which are suspect in nature. Well I am afraid that these clauses may not make it to the final bill since the government is adamant that it does not want all these clauses in the bill. To cut a long story short, the bill will be a no impact bill at the end of it and will not have any useful jurisdiction on the Lok Pal.
I am thoroughly disappointed. Initially when we all met things were cordial, but over the days a lot did change. We could see that the government of India had an open mind and were agreeing to a lot of the clauses suggested by us. However on the fourth day there were signs of resistance. They said that they wanted to consult the states and also the political parties which we had no objection to. Then things did go haywire. We are not suggesting that everything that we say should be accepted, but healthy consultations would not have harmed anyone. Then started the war of words and the talks became more and more aggressive. Basically everything that we said was made into an issue. However yesterday’s meeting was the last straw and none of the issues raised by us were taken up. There is a meeting on the 20th and the 21st and I am confident nothing concrete would come out of it either.

On the BJP man comment: I have really nothing to say about this. These are all politicians who have no status who make comments against me. I have no idea why they chose to comment on me every now and then. Well if you are asking me for the reasons behind these comments, I am really not in a position to tell you why. It was said that it could be a pre cursor to the mining report slated to be relased later this month. However I refuse to beleive that these comments are a pre cursor. No one really knows what is in that report and trust me I have not spared anyone in that report. I really do not want to attack all these persons for what they have been saying. I will submit the report which will speak for itself.
I do not think these comments have anything to do with the mining report only. It started with Veerappa Moily. Then Digvijay Singh came into the picture and started making comments despite not knowing the ABCD of Karnataka. His comments were followed by statements by B K Hariprasad and also Janardhan Poojary. What I noticed was that each time the intensity of the comments became more and more.
I have no regrets though and I do not think taking up the post of Lokayukta was wrong on my part. I may have failed in some areas but i have no regrets since I have given my best shot.
I will be writing to Pranab Mukherjee shortly. I would like to tell him that I was a sportsman and I have learnt to take things in the right spirit. I have always adopted the Olympic motto where winning is not everything. Participation is more important and we need to play the game in the right spirit.

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Kashmiri may not be dead

The death of Ilyas Kashmiri continues to remain a mystery and as per agencies in India, he is still alive since there is no credible confirmation regarding his death. Two weeks back, news had broken out stating that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a drone attack. Barring the Harkat-ul-Jihadi, no other agency including the United States of America were able to confirm the news and it remains a status quo till date.
Indian agencies when contacted say that there are three aspects to the news relating to Ilyas Kashmiri. Following the David Headley revealations at the Chicago court, the heat was on Kashmiri. Moreover the United States of America too had made it clear that after the death of Osama Bin Laden, the man most wanted on their list was Kashmiri. The US had also gone to the extent of telling Pakistan to act against Kashmiri.
Once this directive was given to Pakistan, the ISI found itself in an extremely difficult situation since they could not afford the death of another high profile terrorist after Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan following the death of Laden has already been facing the heat from terrorist groups. The death of Kashmiri at the hands of US forces would have only meant that the retaliatory measures would have been terrible for Pakistan.
According to Indian agencies the death of Kashmiri appears to be a rumour either floated by the ISI or Kashmiri himself. Had the US drones killed Kashmiri, they would not have hesitated to declare it since it would have been another feather in their cap in their war on terror.
Both the ISI and Kashmiri were aware that the US were closing in on him. Hence the best way to have avoided any such onslaught was to float such a rumour regarding his death.
At first it was believed that the ISI may have killed him. This could have been easily true considering the fact that Kashmiri has been saying that the Al-Qaeda has managed to infiltrate into the Pakistan army which ultimately resulted in the success of the Mehran attack. However the intercepts now trickling in suggest that the plan to eliminate Kashmiri was called off and the ISI managed to force a truce with the man. Indian agencies feel that the truce between the two would have dealt with outflow of information and Kashmiri could have been told to remain silent. In addition to this, Kashmiri is still an important man for the ISI since he is the one who trains new cadres who can carry out precision attacks.
This prompted Kashmiri himself to float the rumour regarding himself stating that he was dead. Through his parent outfit HuJI, he attempted to confirm the news to the rest of the world. Although none were sure of this, the heat surely died down and resources were spent in confirming the news than tracking him down. This gave him ample time to change his hideout.
Indian agencies say that this is for the second time Kashmiri and the ISI managed to hood wink the world. Similar news regarding his death had emerged a couple of years back too. However at that time even the US forces made the mistake of confirming his death only to realise that he was alive and had very well managed to change his base.
According to the intelligence bureau, deaths of high profile terrorists at the hands of the establishment is nothing new. The ISI tends to eliminate persons who start generating heat which ultimately falls on Pakistan from the rest of the world. There are two more similar instances regarding the death of terrorists. Shahid Bilal of the Hyderabad twin blasts fame was eliminated by the ISI when it was realised that his hiding in Pakistan was doing no good for them. Although the father of Bilal confirmed his death after seeing photographs of Bilal on the internet, the case is not the same for Riyaz Bhatkal, the Indian Mujahideen big wig. There was a claim that he was killed by members of the Chota Rajan gang, but till date there is no confirmation either from our own agencies nor from Pakistan. Indian agencies say that these are the types of games that the ISI plays in a bid to reduce heat. It is extremely difficult to get such things confirmed since Pakistan has a lot at stake either to confirm or even deny the news.

No takers for new Telangana formula

The Congress is attempting one last ditch attempt to force a solution to the Telangana issue and has now suggested Ghorkaland model of autonomy. While this idea was mooted by supermo of the Party, Sonia Gandhi, it would be Ghulam Nabi Azad who would break the news in the coming weeks regarding this formula.

However the activists of Telangana are furious and say that they will not settle for anything short of a separate Telangana state. People will come out on to the streets and fight tooth and nail opposing any compromise formula other than the formation of the state, says Dr Prithviraj, leader of the students forum for Telangana.

The Congress leaders from Telangana have made several attempts in the past few days to force a situation on this issue. During their meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh a couple of days back, they had expressed their helplessness of returning to their constituencies. The PM had assured them of some solution to the issue. However the Congress which had announced that the process for the formation of a separate state had commenced has now suggested that it would grant autonomy instead of forming a separate state.

As per the suggestion, a council would be formed and Telangana would get a huge pay package. Among the other proposals suggested for Telangana are the formation of a Telangana Regional Council and also a preparation of an annual report card which would look into the problems of the people of the region.

Congress sources in Andhra Pradesh say that this is the most likely solution to the problem. The people of the region have been complaining about lack of facilities and other developmental projects. There has to be a middle path to the issue and we too feel that this is the best solution. We will need to convince the people of the region that this is good for them. Breaking up a state is not easy and one must also take into consideration the sentiments of the people who hail from the rest of Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress leaders from the Telangana region have however decided to oppose this move. They say that it becomes impossible for them to get back to their constituencies and the people are not prepared to settle for anything short of a separate state. Keshava Rao, an MP from the Telangana region says that the same model which has been applied to Darjeeling cannot be applied here.

This is not democray but hypocricy says Dr Prithviraj. Don’t you think this is ridiculous especially when Telangana has been announced in both houses of Parliament. Anything short of a separate Telangana is not acceptable to us. One must remember that all these promises will not reach any of the people at the end of it. Autonomy is not a solution. This not only includes our financial plight, but also our self respect. This formula will not achieve any of those goals, he also added.

The political Joint Action Committee for Telangana too says that the formula is stupid. There is no way in which we are going to agree to this. They have said that they will make the people come around. This is not possible, a member of the committee also added.

The students would be ones who would play a big role this time in opposing this proposal. In the days to come, our protests would intensify. The students say that even if they decide to allocate all the funds in the budget for the next ten years to Telangana, we will still not be agreeable to that.

They have also come down heavily on Jaipal Reddy. Who is he to talk about the Congress being against regionalism. Does he understand the cause? If he was so confident and was acting as the mouth piece of Sonia Gandhi, they why did he back out of those various political meetings he had to hold in the Telangana region. He too knows what his madam has suggested is all rubbish and he cannot convey this to the people of Telangana, the student’s leader also said.

The Union Government is playing with fire and we defy the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi to come in with military support and meet the people of Telangana. Our respect for them will emerge only if they give us our state.

Dr Prithviraj also goes on to add that the Congress has become a party of rogues and this new suggestion by them has no takers in Telangana. The Congress leaders from Telangana may be making statements for necessary sound bytes, but in reality they have all been sold out and have no meaning for the real cause.

“Unaware of Ramdev-RSS link”

Baba Ramdev breaks his fast , Sri Sri Ravishankar, on his right, offers a glass of juice. Photo courtesy: Gulfnews
First Anna Hazare and the Baba Ramdev. A fast appears to be an effective way of getting the government to do things.The Events surrounding the Baba Ramdev fast involved a lot of contreversy and one cannot forget the crackdown of his supporters by the Union Government.
Shri Shri Ravishankar has been vocal about these movements and he even managed to convince Baba Ramdev to call off his fast. The Art of Living founder says in this interview that he does support the cause but would never support anybody who resorts to violence. Shri Shri Ravishankar also says that he is unaware whether the RSS is behind the Baba Ramdev movement.

Baba Ramdev had spoken of starting an army of his own. Do you subscribe to that view.

Absolutely not. I will not support anybody taking any form of violence or law into their own hands

There is talk of the RSS being behind the Ramdev movement. Your views on this.

I do not know. I have never gone to their fast or their program. I am not in touch with them on that issue so I cannot comment.

Could you suggest methods through which citizens can raise their voice in protest or is hunger strike the only way.

There are many ways to protest. People can protest and hold dharnas. Hunger strike is one aspect that will work when people at the helm of affairs are sensitive. Ballot is another way to protest. I feel that all protests should be non-violent and non-instigative. They should be done without hatred or vengeance.

Do you think the country is going through a change and people becoming more impatient?

Change is the constant thing that keeps happening. You cannot categorize a country of 1.2 billion with one sort of emotion. There are people of various emotions, attitudes and tendencies.

Do you think that both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have political ambitions?

I am not here to comment on their ambitions. You have to ask them about that. As far as I am concerned, everyone should join hands together and see that the country is out of this rut it is facing.

What plans does art of living have in future to fight issues such as these?

The Art of Living supported Anna Hazare from day one and it will continue to support any movement which is progressive and non-violent. Art of Living will support any organisation which fights for a just cause. We are engaged in educating and reforming the people.
Art of Living works at three levels:
Creating awareness among the civil society in satsangs where millions of people attend, we take a vow not to support or indulge in corruption.

Our youth volunteers approach the government officials and put a sticker on their tables saying’ I will not take bribe’. This is on the bureaucratic level.

Through its programs, The Art of Living creates a sense of belongingness and basically works on changing mindsets of people, reforming them in the prisons, at workplace, schools and colleges. It is stress, narrow mindedness and lack of vision about life that makes one go into criminal activity. The Art of Living is engaged in creating a sense of security and transforming the way people look at life.
In all these ways, we contribute for bringing the much needed change in society. At the same time, we are also actively engaged in educating people against corruption and its prevention. The Art of Living also does not hesitate to join other movements who stand up against or fight corruption. We believe more in reform and education rather than in fighting.

Do you think that all our leaders should undergo a course at the art of living. Will such an exercise change their perspective towards our country?

Certainly! It has benefited millions to change their mindsets and their lifestyles. Definitely, our politicians and bureaucrats also need this.

What is the spiritual road our netas should take in order to be better leaders and also non corrupt?

They should do satsangs like Mahatma Gandhi did every day.
They should feel themselves as servants of people rather than as somebody big trying to rule and control the people.
Lead a simple lifestyle with one vision of giving a better future and a better nation to the coming generations.

Rana trial- the men who got away

Sajid Mir. Photo courtesy: Domain-b
The much hyped up trial of Tawwahur Rana has finally come to a close and one could say with confidence it did not end the way in which many would have expected it to end.

Indian agencies have been saying that the bigger disappointment regarding this trial has not just been the acquittal of Rana. The more important aspects with regard to the likes of Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal not even finding a mention is what India is really disappointed about.

Getting some clarity regarding Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal was extremely crucial and all hopes were on this court at Chicago to give that clarity. We wonder why David Headley stopped short of speaking more about these two men who he repeatedly interacted with during his mission, an official in the Intelligence Bureau said.

Rana’s acquittal has hurt India, but it is not the end of the road, since we do have our own independent investigation. However it was extremely crucial for the Court to have made some observations on Mir and Iqbal. These are men who are part of the Pakistani establishment and more importantly they are hiding in that country and we all know what the issues are when it comes to accessing those men.

Going by the testimony of Headley where he starts off with promise and then back tracks, it only goes on to show what a skilled and trained operative he was. At the end of it he only said what he already had and has not diverted even an inch.

The IB says that the entire 26/11 attack was sponsored by the Pakistani establishment. It is one thing when we deal with individuals such as Rana and Headley. The job was made easier since they were in the United States of America which in turn assures us of a chance of questioning them. It would have been a different story altogether if they were holed up in Pakistan.

While dealing with matters pertaining to terrorism, it becomes extremely difficult when a particular country is directly involved in the attack. While India does realise the role played by the establishment in this attack, it was extremely important that even the United States did. Major Iqbal is a part of the establishment while Sajid Mir is a global terrorist. These are the kind of people who need to be dealt with international pressure and this verdict would have been the idea platform to deal with such persons. Moreover it was important for the court to recognise the role played by these men and had that been done, then the case for India would have been easier.

The likes of Mir and Iqbal do figure in the dossiers that India has sent to Pakistan. Today Pakistan can simply reject these names on the pretext that there has been no finding by a US court. It is also a well known fact that they would subscribe to a view of the US court rather than India’s demand.

The fact that these very important names were not mentioned at the end of the trial literally gives them a clean chit and only strengthens them to go about their activities. Now India will have put up a very strong case and also implead itself at the law suit in New York to prove the guilt of the ISI. There is a lot of home work that the Indian investigators will have to do in order to nail the ISI link to the case. Also India could hope that there would be a mention about these persons when Rana goes on appeal.

Speaking of Mir and Iqbal, the former comes across as a more dangerous person. A person like Iqbal will not be used for another attack since Pakistan cannot let the names of its officers come out again. However Mir is the one that the world needs to worry about, the IB says. He has a very selective set of skills which has helped him emerge into a global terrorist. He will continue to nurture many more David Headleys and he has been assigned a very key job to ensure that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba turns into a global outfit.

Rana verdict-NIA not deterred

The National Investigating Agency which is probing the David Headley-Tawwahur Rana angle to the 26/11 case appears not to be deterred by the verdict at Chicago. We were never basing our investigations completely on the case built up the United States and we have been conducting our own investigation ever since these two links to the attack had come out, sources in the NIA said.

Although the NIA has taken a couple of leads from the investigation conducted in the United States of America, the probe in India has been by and large independent. However there may a slight delay in the case of Rana since the man’s attorney has indicated that they would prefer an appeal before a higher court. When the legal process is on, the US may not grant immediate access to Rana, sources also pointed out.

The investigations that have been conducted by the NIA have more aspects when compared to the US investigation. The investigation in the US dealt with the broader role which is alleged to have been played by Rana for the 26/11 attack. However since it was a crime that was committed in India, the NIA has been dealing with the finer aspects of the case.

The NIA has so far managed to establish that it was Rana who had provided a cover for David Headley as a result of which the latter could go about his business unabated. The NIA says that had Rana not provided the cover as sought by David Headley, it would have been virtually impossible for him to go about scouting targets in India. He The question that would however require to be answered is how much of Headley’s plan did Rana know. The NIA says that investigations have shown that Rana was in the know of Headley’s plan. We will need to question Rana on these aspects and build our case. However as of now it looks like a clear case of criminal conspiracy under Section 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 120(b) reads thus: Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence will be punished with death, rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards.

The NIA says that in the wake of this verdict, the manner in which this case would dealt with will not change. The questionnaire that has been prepared will be untouched and once we get access, we will still ask the same questions. It is clear that nothing new has come out of this trial, but that does not mean we cannot proceed with our line of the investigation.

During the questioning of Rana, it is extremely crucial for the NIA to establish the link he had with Headley. If they are able to do so with Rana’s statements, then it puts to rest a major part of the case. The light at the end of the tunnel for the NIA is that part of the court verdict which finds Rana guilty of helping Lashkar-e-Tayiba cadres. This part of the probe would be crucial too since the NIA will seek to find out more on the Lashkar/Rana and the Indian connection. The NIA would also look to probe the Rana visit to Kochi. The questionnaire would be more or less based on the questions that the NIA asked David Headley.

However there is a lot of paper work that remains before India can finally seek access to Rana. At the moment the Home Ministry has handed over a couple of documents to the NIA. At the moment, there is no official word from the US regarding the permission to question Rana. This will need to be done through diplomatic channels, but the US does not have any case to deny us the right to question him considering the fact that his actions have affected India. While India is hopeful of getting access to Rana, the only issue may be the slight delay since Rana has indicated that he would prefer an appeal.

Rana-will article 20 play spoil sport?

As expected there was a set back for India in the Tawwahur Rana case. However India continues to be optimistic, but the issue would be that there would be a lot of legal juggling now involved in order to proceed with this case.

Speaking to legal experts on this particular case, one gets to know that the trial in India against Rana can go on as usual. The verdict of the US court will have absolutely no precedent or bearing on the investigation over here.

For starters, Rana could not have been tried in the US court for an offence committed in India, legal experts in India say. This verdict should not have any impact on our individual case, says Justice Santosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India. This verdict may have an influence on our legal system, but there is no precedent that our judicial system ought to abide by the verdict of the US court.

However the biggest worry for the Indian agencies is the provision mandated under Article 20 of the Indian constitution. It makes it clear that a person cannot be tried twice for the same offence as it will amount to double jeopardy. Although India will go ahead with its investigation and ultimately file a chargesheet against Rana, the question is whether Rana’s legal team will make use of the provisions under Article 20. The charges levelled in the US and also in India are almost the same. He was accused of aiding David Headley to stage the 26/11 attack. The US court has not found any merit in that argument.

With regard to Article 20, legal experts point out that there should not be any problem for India to try him once again for the same offence. Even if Rana is to put forth that argument, India can always argue back stating that he was tried in the US for an offence committed in India and this itself is not acceptable to us. This is a matter which will be debated largely in the legal circles over the days to come since it is expected to come up once a chargesheet is filed by the National Investigating Agency.

Looking at the legal provisions available at the moment, there does not appear to be any set precedent on this aspect of the case. At the moment it seems as though there will not be any problem for us to try Rana in India. The only issue will be the impact the Rana case will have in the international community which more or less treats the verdict of a US court as the gospel truth. However legal experts say that all these factors ought not to deter the Indian agencies and they should just go ahead with whatever case they have on hand. The aim should be to put up a strong case and ensure that he is convicted for his offence in India in relation with the 26/11 attack.

How did Muzamil Bhat get away?

As the Tawwahur Rana trial draws to a close, there will always be a big question mark on the one man who got away during this entire proceeding. The name of Muzamil Bhat who today without a doubt is one of the biggest operatives in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has been given a miss.

David Headley the man who has been doing all the talking during the Chicago trial has remained surprisingly quiet about Muzamil. Investigations in India at least have clearly shown the links between the two men despite which this name figures no where during the trial.

Bhat was not some low level operative. He is the man who imparted training to all the ten terrorists who staged the 26/11 attack. Indian investigations clearly go on to show that he had not only trained them in combat but had also given them the specifics of the targets to be attacked as well as how they were supposed to take control of the targets.

This is exactly where the Headley-Bhat link begins. Headley was the man in possession of all the data regarding the targets. During his visit to Pakistan following the recee, he has met with Bhat and discussed the targets based on which the training was imparted to the ten terrorists. This gives a clear indication that there was a close link between the two of them.

The case pertaining to Bhat has not been easy for any of the investigators. Indian investigators too have found it very hard to build a strong case against him. The United States too have faced the same problem and moreover Headley is very quiet regarding Bhat.

Immediately after the attack, the name of Bhat had done the rounds several times. Prior to this attack the intelligence intercepts on him all emerged from the Valley since he was one of the primary warriors for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba over there. A master at combat, he has risen to very high ranks in the Lashkar. In fact the Intelligence Bureau says that he was second to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in the Lashkar ranks. This fact was proven when he immediately took over as operational chief of the outfit the moment Lakhvi was sent behind bars. Pakistan claims that it has arrested Bhat too, but his name does not figure anywhere in their investigations which they are supposedly doing on the very same case.

The question now is why there is so much mystery surrounding Bhat. The IB says that there is a manner in which each operative is trained to speak. When Headley was trained by the ISI, he would have been clearly told whose names to reveal and whose not to reveal in case he is arrested. The IB also says that Muzamil Bhat was a name which they wanted to protect very badly and hence there is very little being spoken about him. Moreover the ISI was aware that once the investigations commence, the usual suspects would have been Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi. They were also aware that there would have been pressure on arresting them. In such an event, it would have become very difficult for the operations to run and hence they needed some names especially of those who are second in command to be concealed.

The Indian case on Muzamil Bhat too is not all that strong. There is not really much information that has generated on this man. India will need access to more data such as the voice samples, the call records between Headley and his handlers in order to build up a stronger case against Bhat.

Today Bhat according to the IB is at Muzafarabad and is running a new camp of the Lashkar. Such things only make the case even more difficult because according to Pakistan he has been arrested. It is very difficult to argue on that, Indian agencies say. They have done the same with Sajid Mir and the case is similar where Bhat is concerned. The fact that Bhat was a close contact of Headley is something that needs to be established. Further details on this are expected to come out once the NIA questions Rana and if possible Headley once again.

India has however decided not to wait for any other court to pass a verdict on Bhat. We will have to conduct our own investigations and the NIA chargesheet will take Bhat’s name so that he is tried in India at least. For India he was a crucial link in the 26/11 attack since he is the man who trained all the terrorists.

Telangana Congress leaders make the final push

A crucial meeting of the Congress leaders from Telangana and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is slated later today. The party’s high command has facilitated this meeting between the Prime Minister and the Congress MPs and MLAs from Telangana who have given June 30th as the deadline for the formation of the state.

All the Congress leaders from the region have left for New Delhi and would hold the meeting today evening. One of the leaders informed that they will put forth their views and also tell the PM about the urgency of the matter. The leaders have made it clear that the Congress is on a back foot in Andhra Pradesh and declaring Telangana is the only option to save face.

Even during the meeting with the high command last month the Congress leaders from Telangana had made it clear that there is no option but to declare the state. They had said that with the Jagan Mohan Reddy wave riding high, they are expecting losses in Andhra and Rayalseema. Hence it was important that Telangana is declared as Congress can make it their strong bastion.

The Telangana Congress leaders are expected to pitch their case in a strong manner today. They are clear that the deadline for a declaration would be June 30th failing which they will either leave the party or go on a strong agitation. They say that they are unable to face the people in their constituency and this is proving to be disastrous to their political fortunes.

During the meeting with the PM another crucial point will come up for consideration. This with regard to the rule that locals cannot obtain reservation for jobs in the police department in Hyderabad. The rule states that only people from outside Hyderabad can avail of the benefit to seek reservation in the police force in Hyderabad. The Telangana leaders had raised a hue and cry over this and had termed it as unfair stating people from outside Telangana are stealing their jobs. This matter which had been debated in the state assembly will now be a subject matter of discussion with the Prime Minister later today.

All eyes are on this meeting, since the general mood is that the Congress at the centre is expected to take a quick decision.

Headley’s flip flops, Rana’s silence hurts the Indian case

Photo courtesy: thehindu.com
As the Chicago court prepares its verdict in the Tawwahur Rana case, Indian agencies wait with bated breath for the result. Speaking to some of the persons who have been watching this trial closely, one gets the impression that it has been quite a damp squib. What they have to say is this-“we expected more on the ISI angle to the case and at the start it looked promising. However over a period of time, it started to fizzle out and the case is back to the basic facts which were already known.”

For India, nailing the ISI link is extremely crucial since this appears to be the toughest part of the case. There is enough and more evidence against the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and its players and this is a fact that has been accepted world over.

However it would be a fitting case if both Headley and Rana had spoken with the same steam about the ISI links to the 26/11 attack. Around 15 days before the trial, Rana had confessed that he was an operative of the ISI and it was the agency which staged the entire attack. However this confession was not admitted in the court. India did expect Rana to speak out the same thing during the trial, but he decided to sit mum and await the court verdict on him. Headley too had started off with the same vigour about the ISI, but then completely turned it on the Lashkar towards the end of his testimony.

Indian agencies say that this turn around has hurt the Indian case. If the two of them had stuck to their earlier versions regarding the ISI, then the court would have had something to say about the ISI role. When it comes in the form of a verdict especially from a court in the United States of America it always carries more weight. We know for a fact that not only a part of the ISI was involved in the case. Although Headley claims that only a few majors were involved in it, there is no way in which the ISI top bosses did not know about it.

However India does not want to lose hope in this case. A consultation process is underway to implead India in the law suit at New York filed by the relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka who were killed at the Chabad House. In the suit they have said that the ISI has long nurtured and used international terrorist groups, including the Lashkar to accomplish its goals and has provided material support to the outfit and other international terrorist groups.

India will pin its hopes on this case since the New York court appears to have taken the case against the ISI more seriously when compared to the Chicago court. The court had issued summons to the ISI officials as well as leaders of the Lashkar. However there appears to be some procedural hassles at the moment with Pakistan deciding to go all out in defending its spy agency. However Indian agencies say that should not be too much of a worry since everyone has a right to defend themselves.

While the consultation process is underway on whether to implead in this case or not, a final decision would be only be taken once Rana verdict is out.

India does have some expectations out of the Rana trial, the conviction of Rana being the first. They would also like to see stringent action being sought against the ISI officials and also the court making an observation on the larger role that the spy agency from Pakistan played during this attack.

Home Secretary, G K Pillai points out that Rana’s conviction would establish the credibility of an ISI link in the case. These papers would then go to the New York court and this would add to the pressure.

At the moment there are two opinions about joining the suit at New York. India does feel the need to speak out its version on the ISI in a US court. However the only danger would be if that court does not find fault with the ISI, then India does tend to weaken its case in the international community. However the opinion is that India should be willing to take that risk.

A final decision can be expected in the next 20 days. Once the verdict at Chicago is out and the case papers are studied, would a final decision on joining the suit come out, sources also added.