Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday attached property of Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar alias ‘Latram’, who along with two other militants was released in exchange of passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999, officials said here.
An NIA spokesperson said that Zargar alias ‘Latram’ was wanted in several militancy related cases, including kidnapping of daughter of the then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 1989.
Terming it as a “major offensive” against militants operating from the Pakistani soil, the spokesperson said that Zargar’s two marlas (544 sq feet) house (Khasra No. 182) at Ganai Mohalla, Jamia Masjid, Nowhatta, Srinagar, has been attached under the provisions of stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
“The procedure was carried out today by a team of the NIA along with the representative of district administration and local police. Zargar is a ‘Designated Individual Terrorist’ under the UAPA and has been operating from Pakistan ever since his release and funding terror activities in the valley,” the spokesperson said.
The NIA team pasted the notice of attachment on his house in presence of the sisters of the absconding militant. After the NIA and police teams departed, the sisters unsuccessfully attempted to create a commotion but returned to their houses after no one joined them.
Zargar, after breaking ranks with banned JKLF group in late 1990, had formed Al-Umar group that was responsible for several barbaric killings in downtown Srinagar.
Hailing from the downtown city and a coppersmith by profession before joining militant ranks, Zargar was arrested in 1992. His name was found in the list of militants to be exchanged for passengers of 1999 IC-814 hijacking of Indian Airlines plane and he was subsequently released and taken by the then External Affairs Minister of BJP-led government Jaswant Singh to Kandahar in Afghanistan on December 31, 1999.
Zargar, after being exchanged at Kandahar airport, shifted his base to Pakistan occupied Kashmir’s Muzaffarabad town from where he attempted to revive Al-Umar Mujahideen.
He has also been involved in other heinous crimes, including murders, and has close association with other militant outfits such as Al-Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Zargar was designated as a militant under the UAPA in April last year, a move which enabled the security agencies to attach his property.