Prominent Delhi based cardiologist Dr Upendra Kaul was summoned on Friday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to explain a SMS exchange he had with his patient Yasin Malik, the Kashmiri Hurriyat leader in jail.
While surprise and outrage greeted the news, NDTV editor Sreenivasan Jain took to Twitter to explain the mystery. "The text in the SMS read INR 2.78. INR, which in this case stands for internationalised normalised ratio, a blood report value. The NIA, in its wisdom, interpreted it as 2.78 Cr of Indian rupees (INR) of havala cash.” Meant for terror funding!
Dr Kaul, who is also the chairman of Batra Hospital, was summoned days after he appeared on a TV discussion on NDTV and criticised the Government’s action in abrogating Article 370. He had condemned the clampdown in J & K. Jain sardonically tweeted that this of course would have had nothing to do with what Dr Kaul said on NDTV!
The incident confirmed how the agencies are tracking not just calls but also text messages of the Government’s critics.
It also left the NIA with egg on its face as it mistook the result and value of a blood test with Indian currency.
Had the NIA quietly called on Dr Kaul and sought an explanation, it could have avoided the embarrassment, as most people felt that NIA had made a laughing stock of itself by summoning the high profile doctor. The doctor was allowed to leave when explained what the exchange was all about.
The case for which Dr Kaul was summoned dates back to 2017, when the NIA opened a probe into the funding of terrorist groups.
Asked whether he believed he had been summoned because of his opposition to the government's Kashmir move, he said: "I have no idea. Whatever I was asked, I just replied." The situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, was "improving slowly".
"Whatever the government does must be for the good of the country. We are with them," Dr Kaul added.
Earlier this month, the Padma Shri awardee was among the voices that questioned the government's stunning Article 370 move, for which massive security restrictions were enforced in Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of security personnel have been posted across the state and hundreds of politicians were taken into custody. Internet and phone services were also restricted.
"The 1990 (exodus of Kashmiri Pandits) was a very bad moment. But for what was done in 1990, are we now taking revenge on Kashmiri Muslims," Dr Kaul had questioned in an interview to NDTV.
On being contacted for his reaction, Kaul said that "NIA has the authority to summon anyone".
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