ISLAMABAD - Pakistan was yesterday overwhelmed with joy as chief Indian investigator Sharad Kumar gave it a clean chit in the Pathankot airbase attack case.

Kumar, the Director General of National Investigative Agency, confirmed that no evidence was found about Pakistan’s involvement in Pathankot attack .

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that the statement of the NIA chief had vindicated Pakistan’s long-standing stance. “We knew we were not involved and now they know it too. Pakistan is for peace in the region. We are against terrorism in any form,” he said.

Zakaria said Pakistan launched investigations into the Pathankot incident soon after it occurred which “showed our commitment to discourage such strikes.” He said that Pakistan had cooperated with India that over the investigations into the Pathankot attack .

Agencies add: Following is the text of Kumar’s interview with Indian TV channel News18:

Q: Coming to the Pathankot investigations now. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called Pakistan’s lack of response to request for NIA visit a betrayal. How much of a setback is to you? Will there be any charge sheet in this case if NIA does not investigate in Pakistan?

A: We are looking forward to visiting Pakistan but will have to wait for the green signal from the government. We have wrapped up our investigation on the Indian side and we hope to cement it by investigation in Pakistan. As far as charge sheet in this case goes, we will file a charge sheet even if Pakistan does not allow our team to visit. We have sufficient and stringent evidence against Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Azhar and we will include those in our charge sheet.

Q: Have you found any evidence that government of Pakistan or any Pakistani government agency was aiding the terrorists to enter India and attack Pathankot?

A: No. So far no evidence to show that Pakistan government or Pakistani government agency was helping Jaish or Masood Azhar or his aides carry out Pathankot attack

Q : Any inside help to terrorists in Pathankot?

A: Investigation so far does not point to any inside hand.

Q: But were there lapses in securing the air base? If there was no inside help then this is a clear breach that in spite of the intelligence alert terrorists managed to enter so easily and hold country to ransom for close to five days.

A: That is for the government to see. We are an investigating agency. We are investigating the case as a crime. We will not recommend any action for lapses or security breach.

Q: What is the conclusion your investigation has reached as far as Salwinder Singh’s, the Punjab Police SP is concerned? Is he now a witness or still a suspect?

A: Don’t want to comment on his role as accused or witness. At the time of filing charge sheet we shall reveal what his status is. But at this point don’t want to give him a clean chit.

Q: There were allegations made about him being part of a narcotics racket.

A: We did not find any narcotics angle to Salwinder Singh. We searched his house. Sent sniffer dogs but did not find any evidence to support these claims.

Q: And what about his version about why he was present at the carjacking spot on the fateful day?

A: We have verified and found that whatever he said is correct.

Q: After your charge sheet on Malegaon 2008, several reports have doing the rounds that in Samjhauta blast case too you will change track and perhaps spell out the Lashkar-Arif Qasmani link. Any realistic chance of a supplementary charge sheet in that case?

A: No possibility of supplementary charge sheet. Trial is going on. There is no scope for further investigation. We are not investigating Arif Qasmani’s role in this case. There is no evidence to suggest that he was responsible for the Samjhauta express blast in any way.

Q: So you are convinced that Swami Aseemanad and other accused named in your charge sheet are responsible for the Samjhauta express blast?

A: We are convinced that people charge sheeted are the people guilty. Charge sheet was not filed under me but by officers who were in charge back then. They must have been convinced and NIA stands by that charge sheet.

Q: But there a lot of common links between 2008 Malegaon blast and cases like Samjhauta, Ajmer, Makkah Masjid. If you have recommended discharge for some accused in Malegaon, will it not impact your other cases?

A: No. Some accused are common but Malegaon 2008 is a separate case. It is wrong to say that all are part of one grand conspiracy. Like Swami Aseemanand is not part of Malegaon 2008 case. But yes some common accused like Ramji Kalsangre and Sandeep Dange are common. They wanted to take revenge for all the attacks against Hindus. They are wanted in both Samjhauta and Malegaon. Similarly Aseemanand is common to Samjhauta, Ajmer and Makkah cases. So there are some common accused in all cases but conspiracy is separate. Investigation is separate.

Q: Just as some accused are common, some witnesses are also common in these cases. And many of them are turning hostile. How will it impact your cases?

A: If you create false witnesses it is bound to create problems. ATS (ant-terrorist squad) in 2006 Malegaon charge sheet implicated Batterywala. He was sitting 450 km away. Court has also pronounced it judicially in the 2006 Malegaon blast. Some witnesses turning hostile will not impact the case. In some cases like Makkah Masjid no witness has turned hostile. 82 people have been examined so far in Samjhauta, Ajmer and Makkah trial which is on. In Malegaon 2008, trial has not begun so we can’t say who will turn hostile there.

Q: How do you respond to criticism that you deliberately set free Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, ignored evidence against her and recommended discharge under political pressure.

A: Let the court decide. We are not saying anything; witnesses are saying they were tortured to implicate people. They said this when UPA was in power. Sudhakar Dwivedi was quoted by ATS in 2008 to say that he testified about a meeting where plan to make a bomb was executed. When he was produced before magistrate for authentication of statement he denied making any statement pertaining to making bombs.

Two others went to court (first class magistrate Indore) in 2009 and said we have been tortured to give statement against Purohit. Dharmendra Bairagi key witness also said the same thing. Dr R Singh proved he was in Faridabad when he was shown to be in Bhopal by ATS. Nitin Joshi wrote to Maharashtra Human rights commission in 2009 that he was tortured to implicate Purohit, Sadhvi and others. All this happened when UPA was in power. Even before NIA took over the case. So how can we be accused of damaging the case now? Or acting under political pressure?

When we accessed the court of enquiry report against Purohit we were lead to examination of Indian Army Subedar Pawar and a Lt Colonel Praveen Khanzode who testified that they saw Maharashtra ATS Assistant Inspector Bagde coming out of Sudhakar Chaturvedi’s house in suspicious circumstances. After some day traces of RDX was found at Sudhakar’s house. This made the recovery doubtful.