The Centre will release alleged Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Liaquat if the National Investigation Agency (NIA) finds that he was on his way to Jammu and Kashmir to surrender, Home Secretary R.K. Singh said here on Tuesday.

“The case [of Liaquat] has been given to NIA to investigate … they will find out where the truth lies. Whether he [Liaquat] was coming for genuinely surrendering or whether there was some game behind it ... it will all be clarified. And if he was coming to genuinely surrender, our attempt would be to release him so that he can join his family as soon as possible,” Mr. Singh told journalists at an event of paramilitary force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had asked the NIA to probe the controversy surrounding the arrest of Liaquat by the Delhi Police last month. The Delhi Police had claimed that he was behind a terror plot to be carried out in the Capital during Holi to avenge the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.

On the other hand, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had said that Liaquat, a militant living in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for the last 15 years, had surrendered as part of the State’s rehabilitation policy and was headed towards Kashmir. Even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah came out in support of his police force and asked Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to order a “time-bound probe” by the NIA to settle the issue.

Even as Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has maintained that Liaquat, a resident of Dardpora village in Kupwara district, was an integral part of the Holi terror plot foiled by his force, his family has been claiming that he had surrendered before the SSB, but the border guarding force did not hand him over to the J&K Police and facilitated his arrest by the Delhi Police.

NIA to interrogate him in Tihar

A special court here has allowed NIA to interrogate Liaquat, who is presently lodged in Tihar Jail, in the prison itself till April 30.

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