Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Pakistan of attempting a “pre-planned murder” of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and asserted India will do “whatever it takes” to ensure his release.
“Pakistan is attempting a pre-planned murder of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” he said, striking an aggressive posture against Islamabad over the death penalty awarded to the Indian national by a military court in the neighbouring country.
“Jadhav is not a spy and should be released,” Singh said while speaking at the Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year Awards here tonight.
“He went out of India for business. Pakistan agencies kidnapped him. He was carrying an Indian passport. Do spies carry passports?” he asked, seeking to trash Islamabad’s claim that the 46-year-old was involved in “espionage and sabotage activities”.
“We will do whatever it takes to ensure Jadhav’s release. If needed we will take the issue to international fora,” the Home Minister asserted.
Speaking during an interactive session at the event, Singh maintained India won’t hesitate to take “strong steps” to secure Jadhav’s release.
However, he did not disclose what “strong steps” New Delhi was contemplating.
Jadhav, who hails from Maharashtra, was “arrested” on March 3 last year by Pakistan security officials allegedly in Balochistan which, they said, he entered from Iran.
He was sentenced to death by a military court in a secret trial and the Pakistan’s army chief yesterday approved his execution
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rubbished reports that Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will help the Narendra Modi government in drafting a statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav to be read out in Parliament.
Pakistani authorities said Kulbhushan Jadhav has valid Indian passport. I think if he was a spy then he would not have kept it: HM Rajnath pic.twitter.com/KgODWWuaWH— ANI (@ANI_news) April 11, 2017
“There is no dearth of talent in my ministry. I have the assistance of very able secretaries,” she said in curt tweet.
She also posted the news report to which she was reacting. According to the news report, Tharoor, also former Minister of State for foreign affairs, will help the government draft the ‘Statement of Solidarity’ on the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav. This statement will be adopted by both Houses of Parliament.
“The request to draft the resolution came from Swaraj after Parliament today condemned Pakistan for sentencing Kulbhushan Jadhav to death,” the report said. Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan on the charges of “espionage and sabotage” activities, triggering outrage in India.
“There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav. If anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from Pakistan’s well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism,” Swaraj had told both Houses of Parliament earlier in the day.