`Goof-up, a wake-up call for agencies`

The goof-up in `most wanted fugitives list` is embarrassing but we don`t owe an apology, PC said.

Last Updated: May 22, 2011, 00:31 AM IST

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the "embarrassing" goof-up in the `most wanted fugitives list` given to Pakistan is a wake up call to
security agencies to become more professional but ruled out
giving any apology for the lapse.

He also said that the goof-up does not damage
government`s credibility and it will "not change the dynamics"
of Indo-Pak relationship or the status of discussions between
them.

Chidambaram also dismissed suggestions that after this
blunder, Pakistan will grow dismissive about India`s repeated
requests to handover terror suspects sheltered in that
country.

"I don`t think it damages credibility. I think it is a
wake up call for the agencies to become more professional," he
said to Karan Thapar on `Devil`s Advocate` programme on a private news channel.

He was asked whether he would accept that the goof-up
damaged the governments credibility even in a small part if
not in a big way.

Chidambaram was asked whether the government owed an
apology to the two persons named in the fugitives list as
hiding in Pakistan but were actually living in India.

"I don`t think this is a case we owe an apology to
anyone. We expressed regret that there was a genuine human
error in not updating the list. To that extent, we have
expressed regret and we remain regretful. But I think we have
carried the argument too far," he said.

He said the two (named in the list living in India)
were fugitives of justice. Red Corner Notices were indeed
issued to them. Subsequently they were arrested.

Chidambaram said it is not right to exonerate them at
this stage.

"They are accused in grave charges. The mistake was
not removing their names from the Red Corner Noticees list and
consequently the mistake of by including them in the list
handed over by the Home Secretary. I think you are carrying
too far by saying that the two are innocent people."

Asked about the implications of the goof-up in the
eyes of Pakistan and whether they would be dismissive of the
Indian list he said, "I doubt it. See, these lists were
exchanged in 2004, in 2007, in 2011. Pakistan has always been
dismissive whenever we gave the list in 2004, 2007. They never
acted on any list.

To a question whether the mistake would change the
dynamics of Indo-Pak relations, he said, "it is embarrassing,
but it will not change the dynamics of the the relationship
between India and Pakistan or status of discussions because
Pakistan has always been dismissive of these lists".

Chidambaram pointed out that soon after the lapse
became public he had returned from a trip from Tripura and was
"the first to immediately call the press and say we take
responsibility".

"Since the list was handed over formally by the Home
Secretary, we have taken, what I would call, constructive
responsibility," he added.

To a question on criticism that people say it is
"incompetence" on the part of the government as a whole and
not just the Home Ministry, he said "well, thats a very harsh
word. It`s a mistake or two mistakes...now if you want to
raise it to the level of incompetence, that`s your call."

PTI