July 2006 News

Lashkar Link: More Army Arrests Likely

27 July 2006
The Hindustan Times

Jammu: The probe into links between army personnel and the Lashkar-e- Tayyeba in J&K has reached a crucial stage, with sources in the Military Intelligence - which is investigating the matter - saying more arrests of armymen is likely soon. The recent arrest of three armymen - Lance Naik Mohammad Shakeel, Sepoy Abdul Haq and Mohammad Sharief - and their interrogation has revealed that more personnel could have links with terrorists. The three were picked up after two policemen - Sikander Hussain and Kabir Khan - involved in the June 12 grenade attack in Jammu named them during interrogation. Sikander and Kabir confessed that the three armymen used to provide logistic support to the LeT. 'The investigating team of MI collected vital inputs with the trio disclosing some more names of personnel with links to terrorists outfits,' a source in MI told HT. However, PRO Defence, Jammu, Lt Col R.K. Chibber and other highrank officers could not be contacted for confirmation. Sources in MI said the trio gave contradictory statements during interrogation. According to a source, the three said they had helped LeT as the terrorists had threatened to kill their families. In another statement, they said they were not the only ones in the army to have done so. It is learnt that some personnel named by the trio would be detained soon for confirmation of their involvement. In Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee confirmed three army jawans had been arrested for their LeT connections. The Opposition, which expressed concern over the issue, alleged that Home Minister Shivraj Patil had misled Parliament by stating in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the three weren't armymen but belonged to the India Reserve Battalion. Mukherjee responded by stating that Patil's statement was factually correct since the three armymen were presently in the paramilitary forces, with two of them in the Rashtriya Rifles. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday night took stock of the internal security situation following recent terror attacks, particularly the Mumbai blasts.


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