New Delhi: Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian man arrested by Pakistan last year and accused of spying, was sentenced to death today, which set up a new flashpoint between the two countries. Describing Pakistan's proceedings against the former navy man as "farcical", New Delhi told Islamabad that if the sentence was carried out, it would be considered "premeditated murder".
- Arrested in March last year on charges of spying
- Pak released "video confession" of Jadhav, India rejected it
- In video, he said he was working for top Indian intel agency RAW
Kulbhushan Jadhav, 46, was arrested on March 3 last year and accused by Pakistan of espionage on the orders of India's intelligence agency RAW. Days later, Islamabad released what it claimed was his video confession and held it up as proof of India's hand in violence and separatism in the restive province of Balochistan. India acknowledged Mr Jadhav as a former navy man but denied that he was in any way connected to the government.
As news of his sentence emerged today, India summoned Pakistan's envoy Abdul Basit in Delhi and issued a demarche saying, "If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the Government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder."
Officials at the Indian high commission told NDTV that they were not formally informed of the development by the Pakistani government; they learnt about it from a press statement which claimed Kulbhushan Jadhav had "confessed" to spying.
"Mr Jadhav was kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly," said India, adding that its officials had sought consular access to him 13 times between 25 March 2016 and 31 March 2017 but Pakistan never granted it.
Pakistan has no credible evidence against Mr Jadhav and did not even inform India when he was brought to trial, New Delhi asserted. "Senior Pakistani figures have themselves cast doubt about the adequacy of evidence. The claim in the (Pakistan) release that Shri Jadhav was provided with a defending officer during the so-called trial is clearly absurd in the circumstances," it said.
Government sources have said that Mr Jadhav was a businessman who often carried cargo to and from Iranian ports bordering Pakistan and had nothing to do with RAW or the Research and Analysis Wing.