The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday took the custody of five accused arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in connection with the escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mohammed Naveed Jhatt from the SMHS hospital, an official spokesman said here. The NIA spokesman said the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate here granted a two-day transit remand of the five accused who had been nabbed by the police on February 8, two days after the escape of 22-year-old Jhatt alias Abu Hanzalla from the busy hospital in the city. The five accused — Shakeel Ahmed Bhat, Tika Khan, Syed Tajamul Islam, Mohammed Shafi Wani and Jan Mohammed Ganai — were arrested by the police for allegedly conspiring in the escape of Jhatt. All the five accused are residents of Pulwama. The NIA re-registered the case pertaining to the escape from custody of Jhatt from the SMHS hospital where he was brought in for treatment on February 6. The accused will be produced before the NIA special court at Jammu tomorrow for seeking police custody, the spokesman said. The designated court for the NIA is in Jammu, the winter capital of the state. Two policemen — head constable Mushtaq Ahmed and constable Babar Ahmed — of the Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed by Jhatt and his accomplice on the fateful day. Bhat is believed to be one of the masterminds of the escape of Jhatt and his motorcycle had been used in the escape of the terrorist, police said. Khan, a resident of Pulwama, is alleged to have provided his car for further transportation of Jhatt out of the city, police said. Jhatt is at present believed to be in the Pulwama area of South Kashmir, they said. Shafi, who is from Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar city, had posed as a patient to provide cover for the terrorists escape. Jhatt had managed to escape on February 6 after at least two other militants attacked the police escort team at the SMHS Hospital here, killing two cops.
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