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Lashkar convict escape: NIA to seek custody of 4 accused, likely to quiz them to Delhi

Lashkar convict escape: NIA to seek custody of 4 accused, likely to quiz them to Delhi
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An Inspector General (IG) rank officer of the National Investigation agency (NIA) is leading a 10 member probe team to Kashmir to investigate the dramatic escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) terrorist Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzala from Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS).

The escaped aided by Hizb terrorist resulted in killing of 2 cops on February 6.

Sources in the anti-terror probe agency told India Today that a part of the team is already in Kashmir Valley, while the rest of the team including the investigating officer will be reaching Srinagar on Wednesday.

On Monday, the agency registered a case in the matter.

The NIA intends to approach the local court to take custody of the four accused who are currently in police custody of the Jammu Kashmir Police.

Sources said the team is likely to bring the accused on transit remand to Delhi where they will be grilled at the NIA Headquarter.

The four accused including local lashkar terrorists Shakeel and Tika Khan, are said to have masterminded the escape plan along with Hizb militant Hilal Ahmed Rather of Begam Bagh, Khan Mohalla, Pulwama.

Tika Khan had been frequent visitor to Central Jail Srinagar to meet Naveed on different pretexts. Naveed and rest of the militants and OGW were in communication using mobile devices.

Highly placed sources in the Jammu Kashmir Police (JKP) told India Today that the probe by the state police revealed a wider conspiracy where links to Pakistan and Dubai have emerged. “Funds were transferred to local terror network to ensure Naveed’s escape. The NIA will have to join the dots,” sources said while four accused were arrested within hours of the shootout in the hospital.

A detailed analysis of phone call data and conversation on social media application WhatsApp also revealed links across the border, the reason why NIA was roped in.

Jatt was among six prisoners who was taken to the hospital for a routine medical check-up but managed to flee from the police custody on February 6.

Two of the three cops accompanying Jatt were killed in the gunfire during the escape. Caught off guard and red faced, JKP swung into action making four arrests.

The superintendent of Rainawari Central Jail was placed under suspention and a SIT was ordered to investigate. The agency will probe all angles including the role of an “insider”.

Two militants and two Over Ground Workers (OGWs) – involved in the act were arrested by JKP while one Hizb militant and Naveed were “continue to be at large”. Naveed later cocked a snook at security forces with various pictures of the gun clad terrorist with Hizb militants including Riyaz Naikoo.

Naveeds release was hatched some four months ago by Lashkar and Hizb militants jointly. The initial plan to secure Naveed’s release in Pulwama had failed.

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