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Suspected Lashkar handler held by NIA at Delhi airport

Officially, the NIA has maintained that it had received an input about Rahman travelling to India, but officials in the know of the development said it was an example of cooperation between security agencies of the two countries.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: August 7, 2018 2:53:34 am
The NIA has already chargesheeted Nayeem and Habibur Rehman along with nine others in the case it registered last year. (Representational) The NIA has already chargesheeted Nayeem and Habibur Rehman along with nine others in the case it registered last year. (Representational)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Monday arrested a key suspect in a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) financing network at the IGI Airport in Delhi after he arrived from Saudi Arabia. Habibur Rehman alias Habib, from Kendrapada in Odisha but based in Riyadh, is said to be the handler of LeT operative Sheikh Abdul Nayeem — a close aide of 26/11 accused Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, NIA sources said.

Nayeem is presently in jail after he was arrested in November 2017 by the NIA. He was first arrested in 2007 for playing a role in the 2006 Aurangabad Arms haul case and for trying to infiltrate two Pakistani nationals and one Kashmiri into India through Bangladesh. Nayeem, however, escaped from custody in 2014 by jumping off a train in Chhattisgarh while being taken to Mumbai from Kolkata for a court appearance.

Following this, NIA sources said, he was used by his LeT handlers to recce terror targets across India and to arrange finances for LeT’s activities in India. “A well-established conspiracy was hatched between the accused to target vulnerable locations in India with the intent of causing maximum damage,” said an NIA statement.

Naeem has allegedly been associated with Jundal, who taught Hindi to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and Fayaz Kagzi, who blew himself up outside the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 4, 2016.

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According to the NIA, Habibur Rehman tasked Nayeem with identifying locations where terrorist attacks could be carried out. For this purpose, Nayeem allegedly assumed different fake identities and visited different states including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh and surveyed possible targets for terrorist attacks, the NIA claimed.

“Habibur Rahman, who is affiliated to proscribed terrorist organisation LeT, arranged shelter/hideouts and funds for Shaikh Abdul Nayeem on different occasions for carrying out terrorist activities in India on the directions of the LeT commander Amjad @ Rehan who is based in Pakistan,” said NIA IG Alok Mittal.

The NIA has already chargesheeted Nayeem and Habibur Rehman along with nine others in the case it registered last year.

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In February this year, the NIA made series of arrests in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of suspected LeT operatives and hawala operators based on Nayeem’s account during questioning. It had also made significant seizures which included currencies of various countries and weapons.

Two hawala operators Dinesh Garg and Adesh Kumar — both from UP — were arrested in the case.

“During the search of the shop and residence of Dinesh Garg, the NIA team seized cash around Rs 15 lakh, two currency note counting machines, one Indian-made pistol with ammunition, one laptop, four mobile phones and documents. The recoveries made from the residence and shop of the other suspected Hawala dealer Adesh Kumar Jain includes cash (Indian currency) Rs 32.84 lakh, one Chinese-made pistol with ammunition, some documents containing mobile numbers of associates, currency notes of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, USA, Japan, Thailand, Oman, and electronic devices including two laptops and three mobile phones,” an NIA statement had claimed.

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First published on: 07-08-2018 at 02:51:13 am
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