India has stridently denounced remarks by Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik that suggest that Abu Jundal, accused of involvement in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, may have been working for an Indian intelligence agency.
"Such a statement is ridiculous. Jundal was working with the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) in Pakistan's soil when the Mumbai terror attack was carried out," Home Secretary R K Singh told the Press Trust of India.
Jundal, who was deported to India from Saudi Arabia earlier this year, has confessed that he served as a handler for the 10 Pakistani terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people. Jundal belongs to the Beed district of Maharashtra.
At a function today, Mr Malik said, "In his own statement, Abu Jundal says he is a criminal having been charged in many cases and he also worked as one of the source of a very elite agency of India...and now see he has used agency also."
Mr Malik then appeared to suggest that Jundal recruited other locals and was deployed to Pakistan. "I will put it other way...you become a source...you become a double agent...while he is working, living in India...he might have selected somebody...then these three individuals go to Pakistan."
The minister's contentious offerings were exacerbated by his suggestion that India accept and examine the possibility of its own role in the conspiracy that forged its worst-ever terror assault. "I have to tell truth to the world, to your country, to your people so that we find out a way forward...if you hide things, the things will continue in the same way."
The minister then appeared to draw a parallel between Jundal and David Coleman Headley, the US double agent arrested in Chicago who has confessed to scouting the locations that were targeted in the Mumbai attacks by terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Mr Malik suggested that like Headley, the testimony of Jundal may not be reliable because they were "triple agents."
India has said that statements by Jundal and Headley prove that 26/11 was masterminded by Hafiz Saeed, who remains a free man in Pakistan, which insists it has not been given evidence to prove his involvement in the Mumbai attacks. (Read: India provided insufficient information against Hafiz Saeed, says Rehman Malik)
India is outraged by Mr Malik's suggestion today that because Jundal was an Indian, and given Headley's many trips to India, 26/11 was, in some ways, the result of a failure of Indian intelligence agencies.(With PTI inputs)