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NIA takes over probe in Pak-linked LeM chief Hidayatullah terror case

National Investigation Agency has taken over investigation into detained Lashkar-e-Mustafa chief Hidayatullah Malik (IANS)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over investigation into the sensational disclosures of detained Lashkar-e-Mustafa (LeM) chief Hidayatullah Malik, who had been arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Kunjwani area of Jammu on 6 February 2021.

The NIA spokesperson said that the Jammu wing of his organisation has registered a fresh FIR over Hidayatullah’s revelations regarding his involvement in running LeM as a front organisation for the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad for carrying out activities in Jammu with the aim of threatening the sovereignty, integrity and security of India.

The case was initially registered at Gangyal police station in Jammu district Jammu under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“The arrested accused Hidayat-ullah Malik is the chief of Lashkar-e-Mustafa.  During searches conducted, one hand grenade, 3 magazines and 28 rounds with other incriminating material were recovered from his possession. Hidayat-ullah Malik had done reconnaissance of many security installations in Jammu and Delhi in 2018 and 2019 for carrying out terror attacks. He has been associated with other terror groups in the past and has furthered subversive and terror activities in Kashmir valley. The terror group had also committed a daylight bank robbery in which Rs 60 lakh were looted from the cash delivery van of J&K Bank  in Shopian in November 2020”, the NIA spokesperson said.

Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh, said that the NIA has taken suo motu action as this case had a cross-border angle and international ramifications. Hidayatullah had carried out a reconnaissance of Ajit Doval’s office on Sardar Patel Marg and other potential targets in the union capital in May 2019. He did also reconnoitre some military installations in Jammu’s Samba sector. He sent a video of his reconnaissance in Delhi to his Pakistani handler “Doctor” by WhatsApp.

According to the DGP, Hidayatullah has revealed how a Pakistan-based Kashmiri terror operative Ashiq Nengroo and his other handlers exchanged communications with him and gave him instructions about executing certain terrorist activities.

After Hidayatullah’s arrest, the Jammu police has also arrested, detained and booked his wife Sheeba who was reportedly an LLM student with the University of Kashmir. Two more of his associates have been arrested from Bihar and Chandigarh.

According to Police, Hidayatullah had been hiding in Jammu’s Bathindi neighbourhood—exactly where the detained and dismissed Deputy Superintendent of Police, Davinder Singh, had arranged for a safe house for the cop-turned-terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias Naveed Babu in the winter of 2019 and 2020.

According to his interrogation report, Hidayatullah joined Hizbul Mujahideen on 31 July, 2019, as an over-ground worker but subsequently in February 2020 he shifted to the JeM. In August 2020, under instructions from Pakistan, he floated LeM as a front for the JeM.

With JeM’s Pakistani commander Waleed Bhai, Hidayatullah got 60 kg of explosives planted in a Hyundai Santro car for a Lethapora-type blast in Pulwama on 28 May 2020. However, it was spotted and signalled to halt near a security forces camp. The terrorists in the car jumped out and managed to escape amid firing from the security forces. The car was seized and the explosives were detonated by the bomb disposal squad.