Truth serum could be administered to lone surviving Mumbai terrorist

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Mumbai, Dec.4 : Interrogators in Mumbai are likely to administer a "truth serum" on Azam Amir Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist captured during last week's attacks on Mumbai to settle once and for all the question of where he is from.

Kasab, who has been dubbed "the baby-faced gunman", has so far revealed that he is from Faridkot, a small village in Pakistan's impoverished south Punjab region.

According to The Times, proof that the militants are Pakistani would rapidly escalate pressure on Pakistan and particularly on its President Asif Ali Zardari to take action or risk a backlash from allies, including the United States.

Police interrogators in Mumbai told The Times that they are poised to settle the matter of Kasab's nationality through the use of "narcoanalysis" - a controversial technique, banned in most democracies, where the subject is injected with a truth serum.

The drug, which will be administered through a drip, will lull Kasab into a trance-like state. Usually, a forensic psychologist then questions the prisoner.

The method was widely used by Western intelligence agencies during the Cold War, before it emerged that the drugs used - typically the barbiturate sodium pentothal - may induce hallucinations, delusions and psychotic manifestations

Mumbai police said that their evidence of a Pakistan link includes hand grenades manufactured in the city of Rawalpindi, in Pakistan, and satellite phone calls traced back to the country.

Deven Bharti, a deputy police commissioner in Mumbai and one of the interrogators, said that Kasab had shown no remorse for his part in a terror attack that had killed nearly 200 people.

"He is a 24-year-old boy with the eyes of a killer. Nobody should doubt: he is a highly-trained murderer. He has told us he came to Mumbai from Pakistan to cause maximum casualties," Bharti said.

The photographs of the gunman firing indiscriminately at the city's largest train station, wearing combat trousers, trainers, a black T-shirt and a blue haversack stuffed with ammunition, have become the defining image of the assault on Mumbai, the deadliest terror strike unleashed in India in 15 years.

The police officer added that the interrogation had been carried out in Punjabi and that Kasab also spoke a little, rough Hindi. "He can barely speak a sentence in English, only names of weapons and such," Bharti said.

"He resisted at first, but soon he began to talk. We have our techniques, but we don't disclose our tactics," he added.

Bharti said Kasab is being held in an undisclosed location.

The portrait so far revealed by police questioning is that of a village boy from a poor family who failed to complete primary school but went on to undertake months of military training at four or five militant camps in Pakistan, the last of which was near Muzaffarabad.

He said that Kasab, together with the nine other gunmen killed during last week's attacks, had been chosen from a group of 24 that had gone through the same training regime.

The young men were prepared with violent footage from Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

ANI

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