Former Kashmiri militant Liyaqat Shah who the Delhi police claimed had returned to India from Pakistan to carry out terror strikes in the national capital, has been absolved of all charges by the federal anti-terror National Investigation Agency (NIA) after a two-year long probe.
“At least four officials from the Delhi police Special Cell, which arrested Shah from Sanauli at Indo-Nepal border on March 20, 2013, came under the NIA scanner for trying to frame him in a terror case. But since the main accused, Sabir Khan Pathan, is absconding, we could not go further in the case. Therefore, only Pathan has been chargesheeted in the case so far,” said an NIA official, requesting anonymity.
The NIA will send a detailed report to the ministry of home affairs to bring to the government’s knowledge “certain facts” of the case, said another NIA official.
Shah had arrived with his third wife and a daughter from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was living for the last 17 years after crossing the line of control in the early 90s after joining the ranks of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Shah’s family and the J&K government claimed he had come back to surrender before the authorities under the rehabilitation policy for former militants. After the huge controversy over his arrest, the probe against Shah was handed over to the NIA.
The NIA probe established that Sabir Khan Pathan alias Munna, who was living in barrack number two of the special cell quarters for past eight years, planted arms, ammunition and explosives at a guest house in Jama Masjid area of Delhi, which were later ‘shown’ recovered by the Delhi Police. The police claimed that the location of the explosives was revealed by Liyaqat and that an ‘associate’ of Shah had left the arms and ammunition there.
In June last year, HT had reported that the NIA found scientific evidence that countered the Delhi police claims. The NIA had lifted DNA traces from the guest house room which were later matched with Pathan’s family members.
Besides, the probe indicated that the last call to Pathan’s mobile phone originated from a number that the NIA suspected was being used by an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) rank officer of the Special Cell. Interestingly, the call was made on March 25, 2013, a day after the government announced an NIA probe into Shah’s arrest. Pathan disappeared after the call and remains untraceable. Pathan had given his special cell address to get the mobile phone connection.
According to the NIA probe, Pathan used to work for late inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who was martyred in an encounter with alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives in Batla House here in September, 2008. Pathan’s association with cell continued even after Sharma’s death.