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India, Pak. to share criminal investigation expertise

Thursday 23 March 2006

Special Correspondent

Pending Interpol references to be disposed expeditiously

Group to look into human trafficking, counterfeit currency, illegal immigration

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to make all efforts for expeditious disposal of pending Interpol references in each others’ country. It was agreed to have periodical meetings at short intervals between the Interpol nodal points.

At the end of two-day technical level talks between the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and its Pakistan counterpart, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), it was agreed that the two agencies would share experience in various fields of criminal investigation. The CBI-FIA talks were held after a gap of 17 years. The last round took place in Islamabad in 1989.

The decision to expedite pending Interpol references by both the agencies assumes significance as India has sought Pakistan’s help to hand over about 100 criminals and terrorists wanted by the CBI and other police forces. These include prime accused in the March 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts Dawood Ibrahim and those involved in the hijack of the Indian Airlines aircraft from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December 1999. Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim has been declared a global terrorist by the United States as well. Islamabad too is learnt to have claimed that about 70 criminals wanted by it were believed to be in India.

A joint study group will be set up to decide upon the modalities of future cooperation to prevent human trafficking, counterfeit currency and illegal immigration. Both sides agreed to designate an officer as the nodal point to pursue cooperation between the CBI and the FIA in these areas, a joint statement issued at the end of the talks said.

The statement was read out by CBI Director Vijay Shanker at a crowded press conference, which was also addressed by FIA Director-General Tariq Pervez.

To a query if India had specifically raised the issue of the handing over of Dawood Ibrahim, the CBI Director said there were no individual references made during the talks but added, "We discussed all matters relating to crimes and criminals and there was a commonality in our approach to combating this menace."

"Both sides decided to execute all the red corner notices at the earliest. We agreed that all such references which are delayed or have been deliberately delayed should be expedited in the best interests of the countries," Mr. Shanker said, adding that the two sides had decided to cooperate on a reciprocal basis and "wish to resolve all the issues quickly." The FIA chief told reporters later that Dawood Ibrahim was not in Pakistan.

See online : The Hindu

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