In a breakthrough in the probe into the killing of a senior BJP leader and his brother by Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested an accused in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, the agency said on Wednesday.
“Rustam Ali (56) was arrested from the outskirts of Kishtwar town based on specific information,” an NIA spokesman said in a statement.
He said a special NIA court in Jammu has sent the accused to seven-day custody of the agency.
“Ali is an accused in a case related to the murder of BJP State Secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet Parihar at Kishtwar on November 1, 2018 by Hizbul terrorists. He was also wanted in another terror case of Kishtwar related to the snatching of the service rifle of a personal security officer (PSO) of a lawyer in November last year,” the spokesman said.
He said the case of murder of the Parihar brothers was registered by the NIA on November 28, 2018 and a charge sheet was submitted in the special court in Jammu on May 15, 2019 against seven accused, including three terrorists – Osama bin Javid, Haroon Abbass Wani and Zahid Hussain – who were subsequently killed.
Apart from Ali, the other three named in the charge sheet – Nissar Ahmad Sheikh, Nishad Ahmad Butt and Azad Hussain – had earlier been arrested.
“Investigation into both the cases unearthed the larger conspiracy of these terrorists and the overground workers of Hizbul Mujahideen who were attempting to revive terrorism in the region of the Chenab valley comprising districts of Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban,” the spokesman said.
He said the accused had been absconding since long and investigation revealed that he had constructed a hideout in the house of Nishad Ahmad Butt.
Besides these two cases, the NIA is also investigating the assassination of an RSS functionary and his PSO in Kishtwar hospital in April last year and another incident of weapon snatching.
The latest arrest in the Kishtwar terror conspiracy comes close on the heels of gunning down of another top Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Tahir Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Malangpora village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, in an encounter in Doda district on May 17.