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Mar 25, 2013 at 04:10pm IST

Terrorist arrest: Centre bends to J&K govt's demand, orders NIA probe

New Delhi: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Monday handed over Hizbul terrorist Liaqat Shah's case to National Investigation Agency (NIA), relenting to Jammu and Kashmir government's pressure, which had demanded the case be transferred to NIA for a "time bound speedy probe". NIA will now probe the circumstances under which, Liaqat was arrested.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police Commissioner has said there was no Intelligence Bureau tip-off before the arrest and that it was purely a Delhi Police operation. Earlier, the Delhi Police chief had met the Home Secretary to discuss the issue.

ALSO SEE J&K Assembly members give notice for adjournment motion

A controversy broke over the arrest of Liaqat Shah by Delhi Police, which claimed that Liaqat had come to the national capital to plan a suicide attack during Holi celebrations. However, the charges were contested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police saying that he was returning to the Valley to surrender.

The Delhi Police had then submitted a report to the Home Ministry, which examined both the versions. Omar took up the matter with Shinde over phone as the latter was away in Maharashtra with President Pranab Mukherjee. "I have spoken to him and asked for a speedy and time bound probe by the NIA to establish the facts in this case," the J&K CM had said.

ALSO SEE Liaqat Shah a rehabilitated terrorist or an active operative?

"If Liaqat was part of the rehabilitation policy, his case must have been forwarded to all agencies in January. Has he been returned to Jammu and Kashmir yet? There is no reason that he must be in jail," National Conference leader Nasir Wani said. Meanwhile, four members of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly also gave notice for an adjournment motion on the issue.

The family of Liaqat at Lalpura, Kupwara in North Kashmir said that they had informed the authorities about his return, which was agreed upon. Kashmiri youth who had crossed over toPoK in 1990s have been returning to the Valley via Nepal.

ALSO SEE Omar Abdullah asks Shinde to order time-bound NIA probe into arrest of alleged Hizbul terrorist

The family members of Liaqat claimed that he entered into India through Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and he presented himself to border guarding force - SSB. However, instead of handing him to state Police, Liaqat was given to Delhi Police.

Jammu and Kashmir Police also said that Delhi Police had informed them about Liaqat and claimed that he should be sent to the Valley as he was going to surrender, official sources said. Liaqat's arrest may now deter youths from PoK who want to shun the path of violence and join the national mainstream, the sources said.

As an important in Confidence Building Measure, the state government entered into an unwritten understanding with the Union Home Ministry that any youth who had joined militant ranks in 1990s and wishing to return via Nepal would be allowed to do it provided he surrenders before army or police in the valley.

This way, the sources said, many such youths had returned quietly without any sensation being created. In many cases these returnees had helped security agencies in understanding various terror groups operating from Pakistan and PoK.

Meanwhile, the opposition PDP on Saturday asked the Omar government to take up the issue with the Centre. Seeking transparency in the rehabilitation policy for the return of local youth from across the border, party president Mehbooba Mufti demanded a white paper on the Kashmiri prisoners languishing in different jails in the country. She also sought to know the charges being faced by them.

(With Additional Inputs from PTI)

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