NIA officials quizzing Goa terror suspect: CM

Panaji, Feb 4 (IANS) A team of NIA officials were in Goa to quiz a 44-year-old Uttarakhand resident, who was detained and subsequently arrested by the Goa Anti-Terror Squad for his suspicious activities at the Vasco railway station, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Thursday.

“The person has been sent to six days in police custody and National Investigation Agency officials are in Goa to question him,” Parsekar told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of a lifestyle event on Thursday.

The chief minister, however, said nothing incriminating has been revealed by Sameer Sardanha, who is a chartered accountant by profession and has worked in multinational companies in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and other parts of South East Asia.

Goa Police and intelligence officials have been quizzing Sardanha, who was picked up by the ATS on February 2 for suspicious activities at the Vasco railway station, 35 km from Panaji.

“What aroused suspicion was the fact that he visited Goa on several occasions in the last 2-3 months. Police have learnt that he does not stay with the family and travels around alone,” Parsekar said.

Sardanha was the son of a retired Major General based in Dehradun, Parsekar said.

He was arrested under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — which allows arrest without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant — and is being quizzed about his prolonged stay at the Vasco railway station dormitory, even as tech experts in the state cyber cell unit have been scanning the contents of his laptop.

Police have also not ruled out the possibility of Sardanha being indoctrinated by extremist Islamist literature during his stints abroad.

Officials privy to details of his interrogation said he was a recent convert to Islam.

“Some of the information which he revealed during interrogation is suspicious in nature, but we have found nothing yet which is incriminating. But the agencies will continue to question him till they are satisfied,” Parsekar said.

Police claimed to have recovered five passports and seven mobile phones from his possession.

His laptop, police say, revealed information sourced from the web about past bomb blasts in Goa.

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