'Cops Tried To Frame Me, But NIA Knew I Was Innocent'

25 January 2015
The Indian Express
Mir Ehsan

New Delhi: A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) gave a clean chit to Liaquat Shah, his friends and relatives assembled to greet him at his house in his village, 135 km north of Srinagar, in the pine forests. Shah was arrested by the Special Cell on March 20, 2013, while returning from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir via Nepal, under J&K government's rehabilitation policy for militants who had left militancy and were living in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He was projected as a militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen who had come to carry out strikes in the national capital to avenge the hanging of Afzal Guru. After spending three-and-a-half months in Tihar jail, he got bail and the case was handed over to the NIA. On Saturday, a senior officer of the NIA called Shah and conveyed to him that he has been given a clean chit and needs to be present in Delhi on January 30. 'An officer of NIA called me at 3 pm yesterday. He was courteous and said that no case has been proved against me and have been given a clean chit,' said Shah, sitting on the verandah of his brother's single-storey wooden house. Shah said the NIA officer, who identified himself as Bhattii, asked him to come to Delhi on January 30 so that the case against him could be cleared. 'I will go to Delhi along with my older brother Syed Inayat Shah and village sarpanch Abdul Gafoor. I will not go alone as everybody fears they will detain me again,' he said. Shah, however, is worried that he doesn't have money to travel to Delhi. 'My family sold the land when I was implicated falsely by the Delhi police. Now I am planning to sell my only cow to arrange money to travel to Delhi.' Shah said he has been unemployed since he was released from prison. 'The little money that I had saved in PoK where I was running a mobile phone repair centre got exhausted when I travelled from PoK to India. Now my two sons - Saddam and Aslam, who are working as labourers - give me money for my personal expenses.' Pointing to a stretch of land, he said he used to own, Shah says: 'In PoK, I had planned to sell this land and start a business, but when Delhi police arrested me in a fake case my family had no choice but to dispose of the land.' Recalling his days in custody, Shah claims that Delhi police used every tactic to implicate him. 'From the day one of interrogation. the NIA officials were convinced that I am being framed. They (NIA officials) were nice to me.' Shah said he has received dozens of phone calls since Saturday night from his friends and well-wishers. 'Everybody is happy that I have been proven innocent. Now I can move freely.' When asked whether he knew Sabir Pathan, a police informer against whom the NIA has now filed a chargesheet, Shah said that he never knew him. 'Everything against me was false and today NIA chargesheet also proved that.'