NIA Officer’s Suspected Killer Identified From Wedding Video

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Lucknow: Investigating agencies have laid their hands on a video clip of one of the assailants who gunned down National Investigating Agency officer Tanzil Ahmed Sunday in UP’s Bijnor district early Sunday morning and are likely to release his photograph to the media on Tuesday.

Investigators are reasonably confident that the suspect who appears in CCTV footage of the wedding Ahmed attended before being shot dead  was one of the killers. Another suspect, about whom the investigators are less sure, too has been identified in the videos.

“We have shown the footages to the hosts and they have not been able to identify the two men. We have sent their pictures to caterers and others to confirm if the two were known to them,” said a senior officer associated with the high-level probe into the murder.

Investigators are also looking into whether Ahmed was eliminated because of the important role he had played in terrorism-related probes. Inspector general of police (IG) ATS Asim Arun said investigators had yet to zero in on the motive behind the murder. “We are looking into the terror angle and other aspects as well,” he told TOI.

Investigators have also traced the movement of the suspects from footage of another CCTV camera installed at a private property outside Ahmed’s village. The two are seen on a motorcycle. The video footage, however, is not clear enough to help in identification of the suspects.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh for Ahmed’s family and directed the police to ensure proper security for them.

Investigators also recorded the statement of Tanzil’s daughter Jimnish (15) and son Shahbaaz (12) who are the only eyewitnesses to the incident at the NIA headquarters in Delhi.

“After the first shot was fired, my father asked us to crouch down between the front and the rear seats and thereafter we only heard several shots being fired,” Jimnish told the police. “The sound of gunshots stopped for a few seconds and started again,” she added.

After the firing stopped, the two children tried to stop a man who was passing by on a motorcycle, but in vain. Later, it was confirmed that he was a resident of Bijnor and had called up the police control room to inform them about the incident. NIA sources said Ahmed, who belonged to a family of teachers, was crucial in helping investigators make sense of the literature found with jihadis and emails they exchanged among themselves in Urdu.

His language skills made him a valuable resource. He was a key member of NIA teams dealing with Islamic State, Indian Mujahideen and the Burdwan blast. He was also serving as a liaison officer in the Pathankot IAF base attack case when the Joint Investigation Team of Pakistan visited here, besides being involved with investigations into fake currency racket which allegedly enjoys the support of Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI.

There is a possibility that what made him an asset for us, also earned him the enmity of those who were on our radar”, said a senior colleague of Ahmad, adding that the officer was a good ‘field investigator’ too.

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