It will look into claims and counter-claims of Delhi Police and their J&K counterparts

Bowing to pressure from the Jammu and Kashmir government, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the case relating to arrest of alleged Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorist Liaquat. The probe agency would look into claims and counter-claims of the Delhi Police and their J&K counterparts over the arrest.

The Delhi Police have been claiming that Liaquat, along with some other militants, hatched a conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in the national capital during Holi to avenge the hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.

But the J&K police refuted these claims, saying Liaquat was a militant living in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for the last 15 years, he had surrendered as part of the State’s rehabilitation policy and was headed towards Kashmir.

Even as the police of the two States traded charges, 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.

However, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has maintained that Liaquat was an integral part of the Holi terror plot foiled by his force.

Shinde’s clearance

Sources in the MHA said Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh had a meeting with Mr. Kumar and Special Commissioner (Special Cell) S.N. Srivastava over the issue, after which Mr. Shinde gave the go-ahead for a NIA probe.

“The NIA has been asked to thoroughly examine views of both the police and give its view … it will examine the circumstances under which Liaquat was arrested,” a senior MHA official said.

After Liaquat, a resident of Dardpora village in Kupwara district, was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell sleuths from the Sanauli checkpost on the India-Nepal border near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on March 20, an Old Delhi guesthouse was raided from where arms and ammunition were recovered.

The Delhi Police have launched a manhunt to nab “missing” militants who were part of the alleged terror plot.

Family’s claim

However, Liaquat’s family has claimed that he surrendered to the Sashastra Seema Bal, but the border guarding force did not hand him over to the J&K police and facilitated his arrest by the Delhi Police.

The J&K police had strongly reacted to Liaquat’s arrest and warned it would affect the State’s rehabilitation policy for terrorists and force youth toward militancy.

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