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Naveed’s escape: Probe expanded; NIA to question jail staff, doctors

New Delhi, Feb 19: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has been asked to probe the escape of LeT militant Mohammed Naveed Jhatt from a busy hospital in Srinagar, will investigate “conspiracy angles, including how he got favourable orders from doctors and jail authorities”, officials said here.
Senior home ministry officials said that on the Government of India’s advice, the state has already shifted 25 militants, of which 16 are Pakistanis, to various jails outside the Kashmir Valley since the escape of 22-year-old Jhatt, a Pakistani national who infiltrated into the valley in 2014.
The officials said the NIA probe will disclose the “conspiracy angle and ascertain how such a top militant managed to get favourable orders from jail authorities and doctors”.
The home ministry has also asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to conduct a detailed inquiry and submit a report within 15 days on measures required for revamping security of jails in the state on the basis of inputs received from security agencies.
The NIA has already taken custody of five accused arrested in connection with Jhatt’s escape from the SMHS hospital and are at present on remand for seven days since February 16. The five accused were arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police on February 8, two days after Jhatt alias Abu Hanzalla escaped from the hospital.
Jhatt had managed to escape on February 6 after at least two other militants attacked a police escort team at the hospital, where he was brought in for treatment.
Two policemen — head constable Mushtaq Ahmed and constable Babar Ahmed – of the Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed during the incident.
All the five accused – Shakeel Ahmed Bhat, Tika Khan, Syed Tajamul Islam, Mohammed Shafi Wani and Jan Mohammed Ganai – were charged with conspiring the escape of 22-year-old Jhatt.
All of them are residents of Pulwama in south Kashmir. According to the police, Bhat is believed to be one of the masterminds of the escape plan and his motorcycle was used in it.
Khan, a resident of Pulwama, is alleged to have provided his car for further transportation of Jhatt out of the city, the police said. Jhatt is at present believed to be in the Pulwama area, they said. Shafi, who is from Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar city, had posed as a patient to provide cover for the terrorists’ escape.