New Delhi: Following the National Investigation Agency’s alleged claim that there was no evidence indicating that Pakistan was directly complicit in the Pathankot terror attack, the Congress on Friday expressed shock and disbelief over the ‘clean chit’ and branded the entire development as a major setback to India.
“It is shocking & unbelievable that NIA has given a give clean chit to Pakistan. Never heard of such a thing before! This is a big setback,” Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted.
The reaction comes in the wake of Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar’s interview to an English news channel where he said, “No evidence to show that Pakistan government or Pakistani government agency was helping Jaish-e-Mohammed or Masood Azhar or his aides carry out Pathankot attack.”
However, reports have emerged of the NIA chief rubbishing the entire interview asserting that he never gave a clean chit to Pakistan
Earlier, the NIA had said that it has still not received any response from Pakistan on Supplementary Letters Rogatory sent to the neighbouring nation in connection with the probe on the Pathankot air force base attack.
The Interpol had earlier issued a fresh Red Corner notice against JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother Abdul Rauf for their alleged involvement in the Pathankot attack.
According to NIA sources, JeM suspect Shahid Latif is the main handler in the Pathankot attack and that his location at the moment should probably be in Pakistan.
Latif was first arrested in 1994, convicted in 1995 and his jail term was over in 2010. He deported to Pakistan after that through the Atari Border.
Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and Latif are being touted as the main culprits into the deadly attack on the Indian Air Force base.
Four terrorists were killed when they carried out a suicide attack on the strategic Indian Air Force base in Pathankot during the intervening night of January 1-2. Seven security personnel were also killed during the 80-hour-long gun battle.
The NIA’s clean chit to Pakistan in the Pathankot terror attack was a “monumental failure”, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said on Friday, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should explain “if Pakistan did not have a hand in the attack, then who did”.
“NIA has given a clean chit to Pakistan in the Pathankot terror attack. Would Narendra Modi and the NSA (National Security Advisor) please tell us, if it was not Pakistan, who were the terrorists who attacked our Pathankot airbase?” Singh asked in Panaji.
Terming the development as of monumental failure of diplomacy and internal security handling, Singh demanded: “The Prime Minister and the NSA and Home Minister Rajnath SIngh must come clean on this.”
The All India Congress Committee general secretary also said that the government did not even know how many terrorists were killed in the attack, citing discrepancy in the figures given by the office of the NSA and the actual dead bodies claimed.