Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) recorded the statements of two wives of suspected Hizbul militant Liaqat Shah and family members of his associate Ashraf Mir in Jammu and Kashmir. A team of NIA officials recorded the statement of his wives in Kupwara while the family members of Mir were contacted in Bandipore, both areas in North Kashmir, sources said.
They said the NIA also talked to and recorded the versions of the local 'sarpanches' of these areas with regard to its probe tracking the circumstances of the arrest of Shah by Delhi Police which accused him of being a terrorist who was planning a 'fidayeen' attack ahead of Holi in Delhi. Shah was on Friday sent to judicial custody till April 25 by a special NIA court in New Delhi. He is lodged in Tihar jail.
With Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir Police divided on circumstances leading to Shah's arrest, the Centre had recently transferred the probe into the case to NIA. While Delhi Police has claimed that with Shah's arrest they had foiled a 'fidayeen' (suicide) attack in the national capital ahead of Holi, its J&K counterpart insisted he was one of those who had exfiltrated in 1990s and had returned to India to surrender under the state's rehabilitation policy.
45-year-old Shah, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, has been quizzed by special cell of Delhi Police since March 21. The police had earlier said that Shah was apprehended on March 20 from Indo-Nepal border area near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and gave out during interrogation that he is a trained militant of banned terror group Hizbul Mujahideen and was settled in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Police had said that in January 2013, Shah and his associate Manzoor, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, were directed by top ranks of Hizbul to carry out terror attacks in Delhi. It had said that upon disclosure of the accused, a huge consignment of arms, hand grenades and explosive material were recovered from a guest house in Jama Masjid area here.
It had said that his associates, including Manzoor, are absconding. Delhi Police said a case was registered under sections 120 B(criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war against government of India), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences against the State) and 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) of IPC against them.
According to Delhi Police, Shah had planned attacks to avenge the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. J&K Police, however, supported the claims of Shah's family that he was a former militant who had surrendered before SSB on the Nepal border and was in a group returning from PoK under the rehabilitation policy.