Alleged LeT recruiters demand transfer of case to NIA

Alleged LeT recruiters demand transfer of case to NIA

Two suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives, who were accused of looking for recruits in Muzaffarnagar, sought transfer of probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) by arguing that the Delhi Police “may cook up” evidence against them, their lawyer said on Thursday.

The alleged operatives Rashid and Shahid were in the eye of a controversy following reports that they scoured riot-torn Muzaffarnagar for recruits.  Delhi Police’s assertion that they had met two men, who were not riot victims, from the district triggered a political war of words with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Samajwadi Party alleging that this was done to give credence to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claims.

Gandhi had claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was looking for terror recruits among young riot victims at Muzaffarnagar.

“The suspects are from Mewat in Haryana, the investigation agency is Delhi Police based in capital and the incident is of Uttar Pradesh. It is a fit case for NIA investigation. My clients are linked to Muzaffarnagar unnecessarily and we fear that police may cook up evidence,” lawyer M S Khan told Deccan Herald.

In a letter sent to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the lawyer said the matter requires “thorough and fair investigation” against the backdrop of Gandhi’s remarks made three months ago in Indore during an election rally.

“Thereafter, Special Cell of Delhi Police claims to have arrested two persons in the Mewat region in the aforesaid case, namely, Mohd Shahid and Rashid on December 7, 13 and December 16, 13 on the basis of alleged secret input received from Central Intelligence Agency in the end of November 2013 and now those two persons have been connected in such a manner so as to prove the contents of speech of Rahul Gandhi as true,” he said.

The lawyer alleged that there were “several loop holes” in the story projected by the Special Cell and its connection with Uttar Pradesh, which “cannot be disclosed now as the same would destroy the defence of the accused”.

At the same time, he said, it is to remind Shinde that the NIA was set up to take up the investigations of scheduled offences and matters having national ramifications.
This matter requires thorough and fair investigation as these two persons have been made “scapegoats”, Khan claimed.

Rashid is in police custody until Friday and will be produced before a Delhi court where Khan is likely to apprise Additional Sessions Judge Daya Prakash about the letter. Shahid is presently in judicial custody and he was last produced before the court on January 7.

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