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India will have to apply for extradition of hijack suspect: Chilean Ambassador

April 13, 2011 - New Delhi

Chilean Ambassador to India, Cristian Barros, on Wednesday said New Delhi will have to apply for extradition of the suspect arrested in Chile and wanted by India in connection with the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane.

"Well, as you know, we informed the government of India last week about the detention and now we are receiving the members of the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and the police coming from Delhi and after a positive identification, if it is possible start the extradition process," said Ambassador Barros.

"For that, the embassy of India in Santiago must apply with all the papers to the justice in Chile. Well, that is the position today. Probably tomorrow we will have more news about it," he added.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said that a proper action would be initiated once the identity of the suspect is confirmed.

"First we will have to be convinced that it is the same person and that is the reason we have deputed our men there so that they can come back and report to us. Depending upon the report that we get then we will certainly initiate action," said Krishna.

Chilean law enforcement agencies alerted Interpol last week about the arrest of a Pakistani citizen, who they suspect to be Abdul Rauf, brother-in-law of Maulana Masood Azhar, who was among the three militants released in exchange for the passengers of an Indian Airline plane IC814 in 1999.

Rauf had allegedly arranged the funds for the IC 814 hijack and was believed to be part of the planning that took place in Dhaka, Pakistan and Nepal.

On December 24, 1999, the plane was taken over by five hijackers, minutes after it took off from Nepali capital Kathmandu and taken to India's Amritsar, then to Dubai, Pakistan and finally Afghanistan.

The hijack drama ended eight days later in Kandahar.

Krishna also expressed optimism over US support in nailing down all those accused for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, in the wake of recent revelations by Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a key accused that he acted at the behest of Pakistan government and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and not militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"It is our hope and expectation that all those who were responsible for the 26/11 attack in Mumbai will be apprehended and brought to justice and the United States of America has publicly committed to that position," said Krishna.

Playing down criticism of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's cricket diplomacy, where he had invited his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani to see India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal match at Mohali, Krishna said such initiatives would continue and not hamper investigations into the Mumbai attacks.

"These are two different aspects. Peace talks will go on, cricket matches will go on and simultaneously our relentless efforts to bring out those all responsible for that heinous crime committed against India and against humanity in Mumbai should also be brought to justice," he added.


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