LeT men contacted Muzaffarnagar people, claim police

Two men from Uttar Pradesh's riot-hit Muzaffarnagar were approached by two suspected LeT operatives, who were arrested last month, seeking their help for mobilising funds for construction of a mosque, the Delhi Police said on Tuesday.

The police claim triggered a controversy with the Samajwadi Party (SP) alleging that investigators were trying to give credence to the remarks made by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi that he was told by an Intelligence Bureau official that the ISI was luring riot vicitims in Muzaffarnagar. The Home Ministry had in Parliament last month denied any such input.

S N Srivastava, Special Commissioner (Special Cell), told a press conference that both men approached by suspected LeT operatives were not riot victims though they belonged to the violence-torn area.

Mohammad Shahid and Mohammad Rashid, who were arrested at Mewat in Haryana last month, had approached Liyaqat and Zameer for raising money for construction of a mosque.

The reports of Muzaffarnagar link of the two suspected LeT operatives triggered a war of words between political parties with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the SP accusing the police of trying to give credence to Gandhi's remarks about ISI trying to woo riot victims.

The BJP accused the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government of playing politics by giving communal colour to a national security issue.

“We have only received partial information on the issue. We expect the Delhi Police will investigate all aspects of the issue and present the truth before the public. The UP Police should also reveal what information it has on the issue,” BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said.

The SP on its part said that the claim of the Delhi Police might also have to do with Gandhi's remarks.

Uttar Pradesh Police officials said that the Delhi Police had so far not shared the details of the case. “We have no inputs in this regard...Delhi Police may have information,” commented a senior official in Lucknow. The state police was, however, in touch with its counterpart in Delhi.

“We interrogated Shahid and Rashid, checked their background and tracked all those people who were in contact with them. We came to know that they were in contact with some people living in Muzaffarnagar. When we asked them about this, they told us that Rashid along with another man, whom I cannot name right now, had gone to Deoband. On their way back, they telephoned Liyaqat who was already known to them and told him that they will stay at his house in the night and take a train to Palwal (Haryana) in the morning,” Srivastava said.

Shahid and Rashid stayed at Liyaqat's house. Next day, Liyakat (58), who works with UP education department, took them to Thana Bhavan railway station where they met Zameer.

During the course of interaction, Rashid allegedly asked Zameer to join them in a kidnap plot to raise funds for building the mosque. However, Zameer did not agree to the proposal, backed off from the plan and stopped contacting them, he said. The police have produced both Liyakat and Zameer before the court and got their statements recorded under section 161 CrPC and 164 CrPC. We will cite them as witness so that we have a strong case against them, he said.

Asked whether Zameer was told that the money will also be used to avenge Muzaffarnagar riots, Srivastava said, “It is just one sided statement right now and unless we verify it, make more arrests in the case and interrogate them, we will not give any statement in the case till then.”

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