NIA to decide on Pakistani team’s access: Parrikar

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Panaji, March 28 (IANS) The “crime scene” at the Pathankot airbase – attacked by terrorists from Pakistan – has been handed over to the NIA which will decide whether or not to give access to the Pakistani probe team, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.

He categorically said that the defence ministry had “not permitted” the visiting team – comprising five intelligence and police officials – into the Indian Air Force base and that the crime scene, handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), had been isolated.

Parrikar said the defence ministry “refused permission” to the probe team to access the airbase but added: “The crime scene has been handed over to the NIA. Who they want to bring there is their call.”

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The minister said the area had been fenced and had no contact with the airbase. The probe team was not given permission to interact with any defence personnel or use any defence vehicle.

“If we don’t give (NIA) the freedom for investigation, the burden of failure will come to the defence ministry,” Parrikar added.

The Pakistani officials arrived in Delhi on Sunday to probe the January 2 terror attack at the base in Punjab. The team will travel to Pathankot on Tuesday, informed sources said.

Six terrorists and seven security personnel were killed at the base.

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