Malda, Oct. 15: The NIA today claimed that Baishnabnagar resident Badal Sheikh, an alleged cadre of the Hizbul Mujahideen, had travelled to Pakistan for training, though his wife said he was a farmer and had never left his village.
The 40-year-old Badal’s wife also said he was tortured and stripped by security personnel during his arrest from his house in a joint operation by the NIA, BSF and the Malda police on Saturday evening. The chief judicial magistrate’s court here today handed over Badal to the NIA on seven days’ transit remand.
The NIA team had come to Malda in connection with the arrest of Kausar Sheikh by the BSF on Thursday night and the recovery of fake Indian notes with a face value of Rs 20 lakh from him. Sources said Kausar had told the investigators that Badal had links with the fake currency racket.
The NIA officers have been interrogating Badal at the Englishbazar police station since his arrest. They said he had been to Pakistan and was an important operative of the Hizb. The investigators, however, refused to divulge the duration of his stay in Pakistan and his activities there.
“Badal was in the core team to raise funds for the militant organisation and was also linked to arms supply and fake currency racket,” said an NIA source.
Badal has been charged by the NIA with using and possessing counterfeit currency and waging war against the nation. The deputy police superintendent of the NIA, S.K. Malvya, said there was information that he had supplied arms to militants in India after collecting them from operatives in Bangladesh. “We are also probing whether he had a role to play in the Mumbai terror attacks. We will get a clear picture after interrogating him more.”
A large crowd was at the court today to catch a glimpse of Badal. In the crowd was Badal’s wife Sahana Bibi, who claimed that her husband was framed by the law enforcers. “My husband has never left the village and farmed on our eight-bigha land. He doesn’t even know how to use a mobile phone. Police raided our home on Saturday and beat up my husband. They took him away saying he was linked to terrorists,” said Sahana. She alleged that the securitymen had tortured Badal and stripped him before the arrest.
“Later on, I came to know about the police’s claim that fake notes of Rs 20,000 had been recovered from him. These are all trumped up charges. My husband wasn’t involved in the fake note racket. I have five sons and now I do not know what the future holds for us,” Sahana lamented.
Malvya said Badal would be taken to Jammu as a case was pending against him there also. “We are taking him to Purnea from where we will travel to Delhi in an army helicopter. He will be produced in a Jammu court after seven days,” said Malvya.
At the Janipur police station in Jammu, Badal and four others were charged in 2011 with criminal conspiracy to circulate counterfeit Indian currency and to fund Hizbul Mujahideen.