In a major development, the Punjab Police have traced the inter-state links of slain Hizbul Mujhahideen commander Riyaz Ahmed Naikoo with the arrest of two accomplices of his close associate, Hilal Ahmed Wagay, from Amritsar on Wednesday. As per sources, the Centre has directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over further investigations into the case to unravel the entire conspiracy.
Riyaz Naikoo was eliminated in an hours-long operation by a joint operation of the Army, CRPF and J&K Police in Beighpora area of Pulwama. Wagay, who was arrested on April 25 by the Punjab Police, had subsequently shared the details of his disclosures with the Centre as well as the Jammu and Kashmir government. Punjab Police DGP Dinkar Gupta said the duo was traced through investigations into the trail of Hizbul terrorist Wagay, who was nabbed from Amritsar, where he had come to collect money on the instructions of Naikoo.
The arrested persons have been identified as Bikram Singh and Maninder Singh, both from Amritsar. The police seized 1 kg heroin along with Rs 32 lakh in Indian currency from their possession, unveiling the Pakistan-sponsored conspiracy to smuggle narcotics and weapons into the state, Gupta said.
Rs 20 lakh cash was recovered from them at the time of their arrest, the remaining amount was seized from their homes later, following the grant of police remand by the court. The interrogation of the two accused further revealed that both Bikram and Maninder, along with their cousins Ranjit Singh, Iqbal Singh and Sarwan Singh, dealt in drugs and weapons smuggled from across the border.
In a major success for India, security forces eliminated Hizbul Mujahideen's top leader and Jammu and Kashmir commander Riyaz Naikoo. He was active in the Valley for almost eight years. According to ANI, top officials involved in the operation claim that after eliminating Naikoo, south Kashmir is almost free from terrorism.
Naikoo was eliminated in the hours-long operation carried out by Indian Army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police in Beighpora area in Pulwama. At least two more terrorists were also killed by security forces in the encounter in Sharshali Khrew area of Awantipora.
Naikoo had 12 lakh rupees bounty on his head and was in the hit list of security forces. He was the brain behind major terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir and was a high-value target for Indian forces after he took charge of Hizbul Mujahideen. The Hizbul Mujahideen chief's neutralisation by forces comes days after a total of eight security forces personnel were martyred in anti-terrorist encounters in Handwara.