NIA arrests one more hawala operator in connection with LeT activities probe
The National Investigation Agency has arrested an alleged hawala operator from Uttarakhand in connection with its probe into the activities of Pakistan- based Lashkar-e-Taiba in India, an official spokesperson said here on Wednesday.
Abdul Samad, the fifth person arrested in the case, was picked up in Haridwar on Tuesday and brought to Delhi, the spokesperson said.
Samad, a resident of Bukkanpur village in Haridwar district, was produced before a designated court yesterday and remanded to six days NIA custody, he said.
He is a leading hawala operator, operating in the area of Muzaffarnagar, Deoband and Roorkee, who was acting as the conduit of a LeT financier based in Saudi Arabia through his cousin in that country, the spokesperson alleged.
In November 2017, Samad allegedly collected Rs 5.50 lakh from hawala operators in Muzaffarnagar to deliver it to Shaikh Abdul Naeem, an active LeT member.
Shaikh visited and established bases in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the directions of his handler Abdul alias Rehan based in Pakistan, the NIA said.
Besides Samad, the NIA has arrested Shaikh as well as Dhannu Raja and Mahfooz Alam, both residents of Gopal Gunj in Bihar, and Touseef Ahmed Malik from Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
The case started with Shaikh, a resident of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, being arrested from Lucknow in November last year. Investigations revealed that he had spent time in south Kashmir and photographed some Army installations, officials said
Central security agencies, which interrogated Shaikh at length, told investigators about his accomplice, Tauseef Ahmed Malik, in Pulwama district. He was placed under arrest by the NIA on December 9.
Shaikh also disclosed during questioning that he had stayed in Pulwama, moved to various places with the help of Malik and even photographed some Army and paramilitary camps, the officials claimed
Wanted in connection with a 2014 terror case and on the run since then, Shaikh told investigators that some important power projects and railway tracks in the Valley were surveyed, they said.
He also visited places in Himachal Pradesh, particularly Kasol, which is frequented by Israeli nationals, according to the officials.
Security agencies claimed that Shaikh was roped in for a recce mission similar to that undertaken by Pakistani-American David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in a US jail for his involvement in terror activities and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008.