Reacting to a report published in some editions of The Hindu on March 26 headlined “Mandeep never visited A.P., says father”, the National Investigation Agency has stated that contrary to the contents of the report, it had not picked up or detained or arrested Mandeep Singh from Chandigarh on March 9 or produced him before a court in Adilabad district on March 16. While the report had said Mandeep Singh had been booked under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act (APPSA), the NIA said he was not an accused in any case handled by it. The NIA was empowered only to investigate a certain class of offences as listed in the schedule of the NIA Act and had no jurisdiction to take up for investigation a case under the APPSA. Hence it could not have arrested and produced any accused person under the provisions of Act in the Adilabad court, which in any case is not a designated Court for NIA. In Andhra Pradesh, such a person could be produced only before the NIA designated Court in Hyderabad.
Reporter Sarabjit Pandher replies:
On being contacted again, Mandeep Singh’s father Balbir Singh, who had alleged that the NIA had picked up his son from Chandigarh, said he stood by his allegation. Mr. Balbir Singh, who is an advocate in Yamunanagar, Haryana, had made the allegation while addressing the group of protesters in Sector 17 Shopping Plaza in Chandigarh.
A handout distributed by the organisers of the protest, ‘Lokayat’ and PUCR, also accused the NIA of picking up Mandeep and Pradeep.
Pradeep, who was released on March 18 in Bhopal, was present at the protest event. He told me in the presence of others, that they were picked from Chandigarh by some armed persons in an SUV and taken to an office of the NIA at Noida, where they were questioned for a couple of days before being taken towards Andhra Pradesh. On the way, they were detained at Mathura after they raised an alarm, Pradeep claimed.