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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Feb 9, 2018, 2:21 AM; last updated: Feb 9, 2018, 12:39 PM (IST)

4 behind Pak militant escape held

Fifth accused, LeT commander, on the run; jail superintendent suspended
4 behind Pak militant escape held

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 8

The Jammu and Kashmir Government today suspended the Superintendent of the Central Jail even as the police arrested four persons, including two militants, for allegedly conspiring and helping a top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba commander escape from a premier hospital on Tuesday.

J&K Police had constituted a special investigation team (SIT) headed by SP Javid Iqbal to probe the incident, which had left two policemen dead. The SIT found that mobiles were used by jail inmates and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants to hatch the conspiracy.

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ADGP Munir Khan said militants and over-ground workers (OGWs) of HM and LeT had hatched the conspiracy to get Naveed Jatt freed four months ago. They had initially planned his escape from a Pulwama court but it did not work out. A few weeks ago, they hatched a plan at the residence of Tika Khan from Singu Narbal, Pulwama, to get him freed from the Srinagar hospital. Tika has now been arrested.

“Of the five conspirators, all four from Pulwama have been arrested: Shakeel Ahmed Bhat of Kakpora, Tika Khan, Syed Tajamul of Pahu and Mohammad Shafi Wani of Singu Narbal. Hilal Ahmed Rather of Kakpora is absconding along with Naveed and we are looking for them,” Khan said.

He said two pistols and ammunition had been recovered from the possession of two militants, Shakeel and Tika.

The police officer said Tika had been a frequent visitor to the Central Jail on various pretexts. Naveed and other conspirators were in touch through mobile phones.

“It took us a few hours to crack the case… After ascertaining the scientific evidence and vehicles used, the militants and OGWs involved were identified and night-long raids were conducted in Pulwama,” he said.

On Tuesday, Naveed, along with six other detainees, were brought to SMHS Hospital from jail for a check-up. The accused came to Srinagar on a motorcycle and a car and took positions at the hospital, said Khan.

“When this detainee (Naveed) was brought in, Hilal, who was waiting inside, handed over a pistol to him. Both opened fire on the constables, who were grievously injured and later succumbed. The two ran towards the getaway vehicles and chose to ride away on a motorcycle being driven by Shakeel.

They were dropped across the Abdullah bridge, from where they went to a place in Srinagar city. In the evening, Tika picked them up in another vehicle and took them to his home. When our parties reached there, Naveed and Hilal had already left,” the ADGP said. Denying any security lapse, the police officer said the standard operating procedure (SOP) was followed while taking the militant to the hospital.

Khan said militants were desperate to get Naveed freed since top LeT militants like Abu Dujana, Abu Qasim and Abu Ismail had been eliminated by security forces.

An hour before the briefing, pictures of Naveed surfaced on the social media where he was seen posing with HM commanders based in Shopian.  Meanwhile, the state government has suspended Superintendent of Central Jail Hilal Ahmad Rather with immediate effect and appointed Mukesh Kumar, Additional SP Police Component, Anantnag, as the Superintendent. The DG, Prisons, has already ordered an internal inquiry. Later in the day, DG Prison SK Mishra was shifted to Police Housing Corporation and was replaced by Dilbagh Singh.

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