NIA clears ‘Hizbul militant’ Liaquat Shah of terror charges

In this March 22, 2013 photo, Delhi Police personnel escort ‘Hizbul Mujahideen militant’ Liaquat Shah, in New Delhi. The NIA on Saturday absolved Mr. Shah of all terror charges.  

The National Investigation Agency on Saturday filed charge sheet against a fugitive police informer, exonerating a Jammu and Kashmir resident whom the Delhi Police Special Cell had arrested about two years ago on charges of being a Hizb-ul Mujahideen member.

NIA investigations have revealed that the police informer, identified as Sabir Khan Pathan alias Munna, had been living in the Lodhi Colony barracks of the Special Cell in South Delhi for the past eight years. He was allegedly instrumental in planting weapons to implicate Sayyad Liaquat Shah, a resident of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We will submit a report on the role of Special Cell officers to the Union Home Ministry. It is up to the Ministry to decide further course of action,” said an NIA official, indicating that the agency has gathered evidence indicting some police officers in the matter.

The NIA probe revealed that the Special Cell charges against the accused were not proved and that he was coming into India to obtain the benefit of the surrender policy of the Jammu and Kashmir government. While further investigations into the conspiracy to frame Liaquat is under way, the agency has charge-sheeted the police informer under Sections 25(1-A) and 25(1-B) of the Arms Act, Section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, and Sections 465, 471 and 174-A of Indian Penal Code.

In March 2013, the Special Cell had shown Liaquat’s arrest from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, claiming that he was a Hizb member and that he was intercepted when he was trying to sneak into the country through the Nepal border. The unit claimed to have seized an AK-56 rifle, three hand-grenades and some other articles from a guesthouse in the Walled City of Delhi at his instance.

The Special Cell alleged that Liaquat was part of a conspiracy to avenge Afzal Guru’s execution through fidayeen attacks in the Capital.

However, while being taken to court, Liaquat broke down before the media saying he was being framed. Although the then Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar defended the Special Cell operation, days later the Union Home Ministry handed over the case to the NIA after the Jammu and Kashmir Government lodged a protest stating that Liaquat was on his way to surrender under the State’s rehabilitation policy.

The NIA court soon enlarged Liaquat on bail, following which he returned home (Kupwara). He told the media that he had crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 1997. While he was married to two Kashmiri women, he had also married a Pakistani woman at Mansehra. He was crossing the Indo-Nepal border at the Sanauli post along with his wife Akhtar-un-Nissa and a stepdaughter when the Special Cell arrested him on March 20, 2013.

During investigations, the NIA found the person who had planted the AK-56 and hand-grenades in the Old Delhi guesthouse was a Special Cell informer. The agency has already obtained CCTV footage of the guesthouse which shows a man, suspected to be police informer Sabir Khan Pathan, wearing a cap and carrying a backpack. The accused, a permanent resident of Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh, vanished from the scene after the NIA took over the case.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 6:25:08 PM |

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