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Terror slur on minister

Patna, Feb. 7: An intelligence input about the alleged links of a Bihar minister with operatives of terror outfit Indian Mujahidden (IM) has created a flutter in bureaucratic and political circles in the state.

The minister in question, Shahid Ali Khan, was quick to demand action against the agency, which had provided inputs accusing him of having terror connections without any substantial evidence.

Khan sniffed a political conspiracy to defame him in particular and the Muslim community in general.

Sources in the state police headquarters said the intelligence wing of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) sent a letter to the state police headquarters in January this year, saying alleged IM operatives Zamil Akhtar and Manzoor Sai, residents of Sitamarhi and East Champaran, of having links with Khan, who represents Sursand Assembly constituency in Sitamarhi.

Khan is minority welfare minister in the Bihar cabinet.

The police headquarters sent the SSB’s letter to the superintendents of police of Sitamarhi and East Champaran on January 17 to ascertain the veracity of the report. The SPs of the districts concerned, however, reported to the headquarters saying there was no evidence to establish their connections either with the IM or the Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

The SSB’s letter had said one of the two had even gone to Pakistan in January, 2013, and stayed there for 20 days. While Zamil runs a bicycle shop in Mathura market at Bargania in Sitamarhi district, Manzoor is a mason, the report said, adding that they had been associated with Pakistan-based Zamia group.

On Friday evening, additional director-general of police (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said: “We got the inputs verified from the SPs of the districts concerned. Their report said they found no evidence against either the two suspects or the minister.”

SSB inspector-general Aditya Misra called it a routine affair. “We usually share information with state and central agencies. The letter may have been shot off to Bihar police as part of this exercise,” he told The Telegraph over phone.