KOCHI: Even six months on since taking over the probe into the Hadiya case, the NIA is yet to dig up incontrovertible evidence which will allow it to invoke the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA) provisions, it has emerged. The anti-terror agency had recorded the statements of over 50 persons linked with Hadiya and organisations which supported Hadiya’s cause, but there have been no arrests so far.
It was in August 2017 the NIA re-registered the FIR 21/ 2016 at the Perinthalmana police station as RC-1/2017/NIA/KOC. The FIR was registered after including charges like Section 153A (attempt or promote enmity among religious groups), 295A (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings) and 107(abetment) of the IPC along with Section 57 (missing person ) of the Kerala Police Act. The accused named in the FIR was Aboobacker of Cherakkaparambu, Malappuram, who is the father of Hadiya’s batchmate in Salem.
“As per the Supreme Court directive, the investigation is focused on the involvement of organised groups in the religious conversions taking place in Kerala. The Hadiya case is a complex one which needs time to complete the probe. Currently, there is no evidence to invoke the UAPA provisions in the case. If evidence emerges we will indeed initiate follow-up action. We have recorded the statements of the persons linked with the group which provided assistance to Hadiya. The statements of her family members and friends were also recorded. We have collected digital evidence including those from Hadiya and Shafin Jahan. We checked whether Shafin indeed had any connections with terror masterminds. But we are yet to come across hard evidence,” an officer said.
Two months ago, Aboobacker had approached the NIA Court here seeking anticipatory bail in the case. However, the NIA submitted before the court it had no plans to arrest him in the case.
The NIA is on the lookout for Sherin Shahana and Fasil Musthafa from Malappuram who had been in touch with Hadiya before she was converted in 2015. According to the NIA, the couple travelled to Daman, Afghanistan and the agency is in search of them now. “We are checking whether the couple has any links with the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror outfit. Their whereabouts are not known now. The couple also travelled to Yemen for religious studies,” an NIA officer said.