GOI DEMARCHE: INDIA SEEKS MORE ON IC-814
Thu Mar 24 00:00:00 +0100 2005
Embassy New Delhi
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002266
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2015
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV IN GOI
SUBJECT: GOI DEMARCHE: INDIA SEEKS MORE ON IC-814
REF: 04 NEW DELHI 5630
¶1. (C) During a March 23 meeting with DCM and PolCouns and pursuant to discussions at the August-September 2004 US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group (reftel), MEA Joint Secretary (Americas) S Jaishankar delivered the following SIPDIS non-paper requesting USG assistance with the GOI investigation into the December 1999 IC-814 hijacking. While agreeing to forward the paper, DCM noted that we had earlier inquired at senior levels on this issue in Washington, and urged modest GOI expectations for any new US data.
GOI requests urgent US response on the following pending requests for assistance in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case:
-- To liaise with the concerned American authorities relating to the reported seizure of documents relating to the hijacking of IC-814 by US forces operating in Afghanistan.
-- To collect evidence relating to the landing of the flight at Kandahar and the roles played by Afghan Taliban authorities.
-- To get the responses from Mr. Mansoor Akhtar, ex-Civil Aviation Minister in the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, and Mr. Akhtar Usmani, the Taliban corps commander in Kandahar (reportedly in the custody of the American authorities) during the hijacking crisis.
-- Examine the possibilities of getting statements from some important Taliban functionaries, now reportedly under the custody of American authorities.
-- Any additional information available regarding the whereabouts/location/hideouts of the seven Pakistani nationals involved in the hijacking of IC-814.
-- Any information available in the United States on the conduct of these aforesaid seven accused terrorists prior to, during, and after the hijacking of IC-814.
-- Any photographs that may be available in the United States of accused Abdul Rauf, a key conspirator.
-- Any additional evidence available in the United States relating to the landing of the hijacked aircraft at Lahore Airport, its subsequent refueling, take-off, etc.
End text. Comment -------
¶2. (C) We shared this demarche with Legatt/New Delhi, who will forward it through FBI channels to Washington. Legatt noted that the FBI has shared all its information relevant to the hijacking of IC-814 with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's lead federal law enforcement agency, but has not acquiesced on requests it deems ""fishing expeditions."" In January-February 2005, CBI handed to visiting FBI Special Agents hundreds of documents for the US prosecution of IC-814 principals that had not been previously shared, adding that they were only sharing ""what we think you need to know."" This formulation might raise US prosecutorial concerns that some exculpatory information may have been withheld.
¶3. (C) Legatt has also made the point to the GOI that the US prosecution of IC-814 principals could be bolstered with information tying IC-814 to other terrorist acts, such as the October 1994 kidnapping of US national Bela Nuss and the January 23, 2002 kidnapping and subsequent murder of ""Wall Street Journal"" reporter Daniel Pearl. Legatt reported that this line of approach had not resonated with the CBI.
¶4. (C) Post, drawing heavily from Legatt's files, will draft a cable septel laying out the history and evolution of US-India cooperation on the IC-814 hijacking.