NIA arrests LeT operative deported from Saudi Arabia

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New Delhi : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested senior Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Habibur Rahman after he landed here following his deportation from Riyadh, the agency said on Monday.

The anti-terror agency said that Rahman was held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday when he deboarded an incoming flight.

A resident of Kendrapara district in Odisha, Rahman had been residing in Saudi Arabia's capital for a long time, said NIA Spokesperson Alok Mittal, adding that his deportation was a result of cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia.

A special NIA court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Rahman last year when his name came up regarding attempts by LeT operatives to activate the proscribed organisation's network in the United Arab Emirates to send money to associates for establishing bases across India and for reconnaissance of targets for attacks.

Rahman is among the handlers of LeT terrorist Shaikh Abdul Naeem, who was initially arrested in November 2007 while trying to help two Pakistani and one Kashmiri terrorist to infiltrate India through Bangladesh, the NIA official said.

Naeem escaped from custody in August 2014 while on way from Kolkata for a court appearance in Maharashtra and resumed his activities on the directions of his handlers in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Rahman had arranged shelter and funds for Naeem on different occasions for carrying out terrorist activities in India on the directions of LeT commander Amjad based in Pakistan, said the official.

The agency said that a conspiracy was hatched between Rahman and Naeem for targeting vulnerable locations in India with the intent to cause the maximum damage.

Naeem was tasked to identify locations where terrorist attacks could be carried out. For this purpose, Naeem assumed fake identities and visited different states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh and did reconnaissance of possible targets.

Both Rahman and Naeem have already been named in a NIA chargesheet along with nine co-accused.