Pakistan has said if India persisted with its demand for the extradition of Pakistani nationals linked to the Mumbai attacks, Islamabad would seek the handing over of persons involved in the 2007 bombing of the cross-border Samjhauta Express train.
After reports appeared in Indian media suggesting a possible link of the Malegaon blast accused with the train attack, political leaders here have been saying that the Government should seek the extradition of Indian nationals, including Col S K Purohit, for the Samjhauta bombing that killed nearly 70 people, including Pakistanis.
"If the Indian demand for handing over the accused in the Mumbai attacks persisted, then the accused of the Samjhauta Express case might be asked for" by Pakistan, Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik told Geo News yesterday.
It was UPA who claimed
Nashik: Lieutenant-Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, a serving Army officer and a key suspect in the Malegaon blast of September 29, had 60 kg of RDX in his possession while he was in the Army’s Deolali camp in 2006, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) special prosecutor Ajay Misar told the Nashik court here on Friday. He was seeking Purohit’s remand extension.
Calling Purohit a “mastermind,” Mr. Misar argued that portions of the RDX were used in Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007.
And Later retracted it
It was pressure from an embarrassed Centre which forced the ATS to go back on its charge that 60 kg of RDX allegedly pilfered by Lt Col Prasad Purohit was used in the Samjhauta Express blast last year. Even though the ATS' public prosecutor Ajay Misar had told the Nashik court on Saturday that the RDX allegedly stolen by Lt Col Prasad was used in the Samjhauta blast, on Sunday the ATS claimed that he has been misquoted by the media.
Soon after Misar made the sensational charge in Nashik, the intelligence bureau (IB), which is keeping a close tab on the probe, alerted the Centre about the implications of Misar's statement. When the train blast took place, the Centre had blamed Pakistan's ISI for the terror strike on the basis of the bureau's findings.
"But the ATS' charge on Friday would have seriously impaired the Centre's credibility internationally. The central government has been informing its counterparts in the US and other countries about the role of the ISI and here the ATS was claiming that the blast was the handiwork of a serving Indian Army officer. Forensic examination of the blast site and two unexploded bombs had conclusively proved that RDX was not used, but the ATS was levelling an allegation to the contrary," a senior bureau official observed.