LeT operatives were in touch with residents of Muzaffarnagar: Delhi police

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Delhi PoliceNew Delhi, Jan 7 (PTI): Two suspected LeT operatives had met two people in Muzaffarnagar region, Delhi Police said today, three months after Rahul Gandhi had stoked a controversy claiming that Pakistan’s ISI had approached disgruntled victims of the communal riots. However, the police denied that the two residents of Muzaffarnagar were riot victims or had anything to do with the violence there.

Delhi Police’s Special Commissioner of Special Cell S N Shrivastava told the media that the suspected operatives Mohd Shahid and Mohd Rashid, arrested recently from the Mewat region of Haryana, had met Liyakat and Zameer, Muzaffarnagar residents, in connection with mobilising funds for the construction of a mosque.

The Special Cell had last month claimed to have busted a terror module of Lashkar-e-Toiba which was in an “advanced stage” of planning a militant strike in Delhi with the arrest of these two suspected LeT operatives.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had courted controversy during the election campaign in October last when he claimed that intelligence agency officials had told him that the ISI was trying to recruit disgruntled youth from among victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Shrivastava said the police had arrested Mohd Shahid and Mohd Rashid, who are residents of Mewat region. “We interrogated them, checked their background and tracked all those people who were in contact with them,” he said.

“We came to know that they were in contact with some people living in Muzaffarnagar region. 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 one Liyakat 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, Mewat in the morning,” he said.

The duo stayed at his house in the night and in the morning, Liyakat (58), who works under UP education department, took them to Thana Bhavan railway station. He then called a friend, identified as Zameer asking him to arrange for tea for his guests, he said. When they were having tea, Liyakat left from the spot while Zameer kept talking to them. After this the duo came back to Mewat, police said.

The man, whose identity the police is not revealing, then called Zameer saying he wants to build a mosque for which he needs money. He further told him that they could do some kidnappings for ransom, the money earned out of which can be used to build the mosque and other activities. They then met Zameer twice in Delhi and tried to persuade him to arrange some men for this. However, Zameer backed out and cut off all contacts, he said.

The Special Cell clarified that both Liyakat and Zameer are not riot victims. “I would like to make it very clear that both Liyakat and Zameer are not victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots, they have nothing to do with them. Although they live in Muzaffarnagar, they are not riot victims,” Shrivastava said.

Police have produced both Liyakat and Zameer before the court and got their statements recorded under section 161 CrPC and 164 CrPC. “We will sight them as witnesses so that we have a strong case,” he said.

Asked whether Zameer was told that the money will also be used to avenge the Muzaffarnagar riots, Shrivastava said, “It is just a 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.”

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