KOCHI: The NIA and intelligence agencies have pinned their hopes of getting access to a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative jailed in France on the fact that a French team probing the 2015 Paris attack was allowed to quiz an alleged Islamic State (IS) operative lodged in Viyyur Central Jail.
The agency has already requested the French Government to allow it to quiz Pakistan national Muhammad Usman Ghani, an expert bomb-maker with LeT, who is imprisoned in France for conspiring the Paris attack. It is looking to grill him to get more information of Indians who joined the IS.
An officer with the Ministry of Home Affairs said the French team was given access to alleged IS operative Subahani Haja Moideen under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed by India and France. Also, a Letter Rogatory was issued by the NIA Court in Kochi to a court in France seeking permission to complete the procedure for quizzing Ghani.
“Subahani’s grilling by French authorities will strengthen NIA’s chances of interrogating Ghani in France. We have already approached the French Government for the purpose. We expect legal formalities will be completed without delay and access to Ghani will be permitted,” the officer said.
India has signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with 39 countries. India and France signed it in 2005. It was under this treaty (between Indian and the US) that India interrogated Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, who conspired in plotted the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
“Ghani’s interrogation is needed to receive information about people from India who joined the IS in Iraq and Syria. Similarly, he can also reveal information about LeT operations,” said the officer
Meanwhile, The French investigation team probing the Paris attack visited Viyyur Central Jail again on Thursday to interrogate Subahani. It will wind up its interrogation on Friday.
“Subahani was grilled from the morning till the evening on Thursday. The team will hold a meeting with NIA officers in Kochi on Friday morning to decide whether to continue the interrogation,” said an officer.
Subahani, an accused in the Kanakamala IS case, had confessed to the NIA of fighting for an IS regiment ‘Omer-Kathi-Kaliph’, commanded by Abu Sulaimani Al Francisse, in Iraq in 2015. He said during his time there, some of the masterminds of the Paris attack, including Abdel Hamid, Abdesalam and Mohammad Usman, had visited Sulaimani.