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NIA officers under probe over blackmailing charges

Superintendent of police , two junior officers transferred from NIA for allegedly demanding Rs 2 crore from Delhi-based businessman in FIF terror funding case, probe ordered.

Updated: Aug 20, 2019, 07.45 PM IST
FIF terror-funding case: NIA probes its own for 'blackmailing'
FIF terror-funding case: NIA probes its own for 'blackmailing'
NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing allegations against three officers, including a superintendent of police (SP), that they demanded Rs 2 crore from a Delhi-based businessman for not naming him in a terror funding case involving Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, and has transferred the officers out of the counter-terrorism agency until the matter is thoroughly examined.

People aware of the matter told ET that the NIA received a complaint about a month ago regarding the SP and two junior officers who were investigating the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), run by the Pakistan based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.

“The NIA takes such complaints very seriously. As an initial step, the officers were transferred out of the agency,” said one person. “It doesn’t mean that the allegations are correct. A probe headed by a DIG rank officer of the NIA is on... The findings will be clear only when the probe is over. To take any action against the officers we want to examine the matter first.”

The person further said: “Nothing has come to light as yet. There are allegations of attempted extortion, but no extortion has taken place. Depending on the findings of the probe, action will be taken against those officers.”

The SP under the scanner, who was earlier the chief investigation officer of the 2007 Samjhauta blast case, along with two junior officers from the intelligence and operations wing of the NIA, had carried out searches against a businessman from North Delhi, said officials. The NIA obtained a statement from a witness, who was believed to be part of the extortion racket, they said.

ET is withholding the name of the businessman, whose statement spurred the NIA probe against its SP and two junior officials, because the matter is currently under investigation and the allegations have not yet been established. Besides the SP, the agency is probing the role of a fingerprint expert on deputation from the National Crime Records Bureau and an assistant sub-inspector of the Border Security Force, also on deputation to the NIA, said the person cited earlier.

The NIA was recently given wider powers by Parliament by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and NIA Act.

ET could not reach the three officers under the NIA probe and ascertain their views on the matter despite repeated calls and text messages.


The FIF case
Last year, the NIA, based on its investigations, registered a case against the FIF’s deputy chief Shahid Mahmood and others for hatching a conspiracy around 2012 to create sympathisers, sleeper cells and logistics base in Delhi and Haryana under the garb of religious work.

The NIA first arrested two persons, Mohammad Salman and Mohammad Salim, both residents of Delhi, and later Mohammad Hussain Molani, a resident of Nagaur in Rajasthan. In July this year, it secured deportation of Mohammad Arif Gulambashir Dharampuria, a trader from Valsad in Gujarat, from the United Arab Emirates. So far, the agency has filed two chargesheets against the accused including Hafiz Saeed.

In its latest charge-sheet, filed on July 18, the agency named Molani, 43, on charges of criminal conspiracy and various sections of UAPA. In a statement issued after filing the charge-sheet, the NIA said, “Deputy chief of FIF Mahmood tasked his associates namely Mohammad Kamran, a Pakistani national based at Dubai, for re-routing funds from Pakistan to Dubai and further to India through hawala channels.”

Mehmood further tasked Kamran with identifying persons who could be given this fund on the pretexts mentioned earlier and create a base of sympathisers. During this preparatory work, the target persons were intended to be used for creating sleeper cells and hideouts, the agency alleged in a statement.

Accordingly, the NIA said, Kamran identified a few Indian nationals in Dubai and also identified one person in India, Mohammad Salman, for this purpose.
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