The Union Home Ministry is actively considering ordering an independent inquiry by National Investigating Agency (NIA) to verify the claims and counter-claims of Delhi and Jammu Kashmir Police over the “arrest” of alleged Hizbul Mujahideen militant Syed Liyaqat Shah and the subsequent recovery of AK-47 rifles and ammunition from the Walled City in Delhi.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the state police on their part are livid with Delhi Police as, according to them, Shah was returning home under the militant rehabilitation policy when he was arrested near Nepal border.
The decision on ordering the inquiry by the NIA will be taken home minister Sushilkumar Shinde after he returns to Delhi from Sholapur on Monday.
Even as the news of the arrest broke on Friday morning, a top Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) official asked Shinde to direct the Delhi Police to lie low on the arrest issue as there was much more to it than meets the eye. But by that time, the Delhi Police had already registered a case and effected recoveries allegedly from a guest house in Jama Masjid area.
The PMO official made the comments after the internal security establishment made light of the tall claims made by the Delhi Police, confirming the version of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The internal security officials told the home minister that Shah, his colleague Ashraf Mir and seven of their family members were returning to J&K from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on March 20 as part of the state policy to rehabilitate surrendered militants.
It has also been learnt that the internal security officials were particularly miffed at Delhi Police’s claim of recoveries from Jama Masjid area “as if to indicate that Walled City in Delhi was a den of terrorists”.
Shinde on his part has kept silent over the issue and flew out of the Capital on Saturday even as as Abdullah was in Delhi in a bid to meet him on the issue.
While Delhi Police has submitted a report to the Home Ministry substantiating its claims, the counter-terror experts within the Home Ministry are clear that the case has been foisted on the retired militant.
“An independent inquiry into the case will reveal the truth and expose Delhi Police. The only way out of this mess is that the Jammu and Kashmir Police file a case for quashing the FIR against Liyaqat Shah in the appellate court and Delhi Police does not oppose the application,” said a senior Home Ministry official.