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October 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       October 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:Sep' 2017


"NIA can break separatists' backbone"

Rupinder Singh Sodhi was appointed as a Delhi High Court Judge in July 1999. During his tenure as a High Court Judge, he handled several highprofile cases, including the sensational Jessica Lall, Naina Sahni, Priyadarshini Mattoo , Shashi Nath Jha and Lalit Suneja murder ones. Earlier, as a senior practising Supreme Cour t lawyer, he had defended various criminal cases, which include those involving Satwant Singh, assassin of Indira Gandhi and Siukha-Jinda ( assassin of Gen Vaidya). He also defended Ahmad Omar Seed Sheikh, a British National of the Pakistan origin responsible for killing Daniel Pearl of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. In an exclusive Inter view with R C GANJOO, Justice Sodhi said, "if investigation continues systematically and scientifically by NIA, there is every chance of cracking the back- bone of nefarious ac tivities of the separatists." EXCERPTS

Justice Rupinder Singh Sodhi

Q : How would you describe the National Investigation Agency (NIA) operations being conducted against terror funding sources in Jammu and Kashmir.

A : No government or country can sleep over what is happening. The NIA is doing a good job . They have been able to get to the root of the problem. The local vested interests are, to my mind, more dangerous than the external threats posed by Pakistan.
Any external threat can be handled easily but the internal sabotage by own citizens is causing concern. It has to be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land.

Q: Legally, what are the stringent actions to be taken to nail terror funding sources.

A: It is the duty of the state to maintain rule of law. You can't permit anybody to be above law. Separatist leaders are furthering their vested interest. And that vested interest is easy money. India is a free country. Kashmir is a part of India. They have everything available as free citizens. I don't know how do they ask for "freedom from freedom" ?

Q : As a lawyer how would you have represented them as a defence counsel ? And as a judge what could have been your observation ?

A: As a lawyer, I would defend them by pointing out procedural illegalities, if any. As a judge I would say any incriminating material capable of being converted into evidence, even if wrongly collected, would be admissible.

Q: Are our laws sufficient to punish the people involved in terror funding ?

A: The existing laws are sufficient to deal with any situation, be it a terrorist movement, or abetment to terrorism.
I have read book by a very senior RAW officer who proudly claims that he has been part of funding operation to the separatist movement. The money was used to buy peace. If this was the national policy of "corrupting the corrupt ", I am afraid it has miserably failed.
It has exposed the policy of appeasement which India has been adopting for over half a century and poured in crores of rupees to finance a venture that allowed and tolerated illegal activities detrimental to national interest.

Q :Will the raids, being conducted by the NIA, yield fruitful results ?

A: The present raids which have been conducted by the NIA have already yielded material which is extremely incriminating and can be used against the accused persons.
I am of this opinion that if investigation continues systematically and scientifically, there is every chance of cracking the backbone of nefarious activities of the separatists.
What happened previously, I think, was the result of national policies which investigated in a half-hearted manner and ultimately decided not to bring any body to book. The policy has been to fund the leaders to remain within a particular frame-work.
We have already made them leaders by giving them undue publicity and funding their nefarious activities.
This, I think, has stopped .
The present investigation is likely to bring forth positive results and exposé the lavish living style of separatist leaders who have used the innocent, unemployed Kashmiri youth to commit acts of violence.

Q : Will not Pakistan's ISI agency change its strategy after the exposure of their funding source ?

A : ISI is not a new agency. The ISI is bound to find alternative routes to continue funneling money into Kashmir by creating new leaders and exploiting senseless, unemployed and highly surcharged aimless youth into believing that they would be better off joining Pakistan.