New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a PIL seeking “detailed investigation” into alleged lapses of the Centre in saving 39 Indians, who were killed by terror outfit ISIS after their abduction from Mosul in Iraq in 2014.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar heard the arguments of the petitioner advocate and the counsel for the Centre, who raised questions over the maintainability of the plea, and said it would pass an order later.
The petitioner — advocate Mehmood Pracha — contended that the Centre was aware long back that the abducted Indians had been killed by the terror outfit, but had chosen not to disclose it and kept taking the stand that they were alive.
He claimed that there were glaring anomalies in the statement made by the External Affairs Minister on the floor of Parliament.
Advocate Manik Dogra, appearing for the Centre and the Intelligence Bureau, argued that there was no public interest in this petition which should be dismissed with cost.
He highlighted the efforts made by the government to rescue the Indians, who were taken hostage at Mosul and said helplines were also set up by the Indian embassy.
During the hearing, the bench asked Pracha whether he could tell who had killed those Indians.
The petitioner said he was seeking an investigation for this purpose only as he wanted to know when and how the Indians were killed.
He had earlier said when the bodies were brought back to India in March this year, the government did not allow the families of the victims to open the caskets.
The Centre’s counsel had earlier said that the government does not say “missing, presumed dead”. He had added that “till 100 per cent confirmation of death, we continue to believe they are alive.” Pracha had in 2015 moved the court challenging a look-out circular issued against him to prevent him and his delegation from going to Iraq.
In his PIL, he has claimed that the reason he was stopped from travelling to Iraq was to ensure that his delegation did not find out about the fate of the 39 Indians, whose bodies were recently exhumed from a mass grave in Badosh, a village near Mosul, and brought back.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.