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NIA nabs key absconder, his harbourer in Praveen Nettaru murder case in Bengaluru

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday nabbed a key absconder, who was affiliated with the banned Popular Front of India (PFI), along with his harbourer for the gruesome murder of BJP activist Praveen Nettaru in Karnataka in July 2022.

The arrested accused, identified as Mustafa Paichar, who carried a reward of Rs 7 lakh and had non-bailable warrants against him, is the second absconding accused to be arrested in the case.

He was arrested along with his harboure Mansoor Pasha in close coordination with sister agencies from the state, said the NIA in a statement.

Nettaru, a BJP Yuva Morcha district executive committee member, was brutally hacked to death by two motorcycle-borne assailants in Bellare village of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka by PFI cadres.

The NIA had taken over the investigation on August 4, 2022.

The NIA had, in January 2023, filed a charge sheet against 21 accused, eight of whom had absconded after the crime.

The anti-terror agency had launched a manhunt for the absconders, and on Friday managed to trace Mustafa Paichar to Anemahal village in Hassan district in Karnataka. Paichar was arrested along with Pasha, who had harboured the former.

NIA investigations have revealed that Paichar, a resident of Sullia in Dakshina Kannada, was the secretary of PFI Puttur district service team.

"He was involved in imparting arms training to PFI cadres in the freedom community hall in the area to prepare them for commission of terrorist attacks."

Along with other accused, Paichar was part of a larger conspiracy to target and kill Hindu leaders, said the NIA, adding "he had, in fact, formed a hit service team of PFI cadres for the purpose."

"It was on his instructions that the hit service team had hacked Praveen Nettaru to death with sharp weapons in a public place. The attack was aimed at striking terror among a section of people in the society," NIA investigations have shown.

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