Liyaqat Shah will be released if NIA clears him: Home Secy

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Liyaqat Shah
New Delhi, April 2: The Hizbul Mujahideen operative Sayyed Liyaqat Shah who was arrested by the Delhi Police as soon as he crossed the Indo-Nepal border on Mar 20 will be let off if he indeed returned from Pakistan with the intention to surrender before the Jammu and Kashmir police, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said on Tuesday.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been entrusted the task of finding out whether Liyaqat Shah was part of the Hizbul Mujahideen's plans to target crowded markets and shopping malls in the national capital around Holi as claimed by the Delhi Police. On the other hand, the Jammu and Kashmir government has maintained that Liyaqat Shah was coming back to the state to surrender under its rehabilitation policy for reformed militants.

With both the sides sticking to their versions, the home ministry asked the NIA on Mar 25 to clear the confusion over Liyaqat's arrest. "The case (of Liyaqat) has been given to NIA to investigate. They will investigate and they will find out where the truth lies," Singh said while interacting with newspersons here on the sidelines of a function organised by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

"Whether he (Liyaqat) was coming for genuinely surrendering or whether there was some game behind it...whatever...it will all be clarified. And if he (Liyaqat) was coming to genuinely surrender, our attempt would be to release him to join his family as soon as possible," Singh added.

The NIA is enquiring into the circumstances which led to Liyaqat Shah ending up in the custody of Delhi Police after he reached Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on his way back from Pakistan.

The Delhi Police team that nabbed him found a fake passport in his possession. He also reportedly revealed that 'fidayeen' squads sent by the Hizbul Mujahideen were about to carry out a terror attack in Delhi.

On the basis of the information provided by Liyaqat Shah, Delhi Police raided a guest house in the Jama Masjid area of the Walled City on Mar 21 and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition. On Mar 24, the police released a sketch of a man who left behind an AK-56 rifle, two magazines containing 30 catridges each and three hand grenades at the Arafat guest house.

Nevertheless, the Jammu and Kashmir Police averred that Liyaqat Shah is "not an active militant".

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