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NIA summons top cardiologist in terror funding case after misreading blood test as hawala

The NIA had mistakenly summoned Professor (Dr) Upendra Kaul for alleged hawala transactions linking Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Yasin Malik. Unaware of medical terminology and as part of its 2017 terror funding case, the NIA asked Prof Kaul, who has been awarded the Padma Shri, to explain text messages exchanged between him and his patient Yasin Malik that mentioned “INR 2.78”.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: August 31, 2019 11:18 IST
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NIA summons top Cardiologist in terror funding case after misreading blood test as hawala

A top cardiologist was summoned by the anti-terror National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged links to Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik after what appears to be confusion over blood test results.

The NIA had mistakenly summoned Professor (Dr) Upendra Kaul for alleged hawala transactions in terror funding case. Unaware of medical terminology and as part of its 2017 terror funding case, the NIA asked Prof Kaul to explain text messages exchanged between him and his patient Yasin Malik that mentioned “INR 2.78”.

The NIA, according to Prof Kaul, believed INR 2.78 was possibly connected to hawala transactions. But the confusion ended minutes later when Prof Kaul explained that INR mentioned in the text message stood for International Normalized Ratio (INR), the result of a blood test commonly conducted to check how quickly the blood clots in patients consuming anti-clotting medicines — and not Indian Rupee, which is also abbreviated INR.

Prof Kaul, who has been awarded the Padma Shri, however, has been critical of the Centre’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.

“Yaseen Malik has been my patient since 1996. When he was in jail, Malik was brought to AIIMS by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and senior R&AW official A S Dulat. And at AIIMS, he was brought through the Medical Superintendent and I was made to examine him. He then underwent an invasive procedure of the heart — the Aortic Valve Replacement,” The Indian Express quoted Dr. kaul as saying.

“And following the surgery, he made a few visits for post-operative care. And in particular, there is this blood test to check the efficacy of anti-coagulation. And it is called the International Normalized Ratio (INR),” he added.

According to Dr. Kaul, an INR of around 1.1 is considered normal for a healthy person.

“And a person who is on blood thinners, the INR is between the range 2-3. In Malik’s case, the INR was 2.78 and we have exchanged texts on the blood result test. They (NIA) must have picked up the INR 2.78 and possibly thought that it was some kind of hawala transaction going to Jammu and Kashmir. The agency was very nice during the questioning and I clarified that INR refers to the blood test,” he said.

The NIA sources, however, said that there were calls and text messages exchanged between Kaul and Yasin Malik and they were just doing their work.

“These needed to be verified. It is a routine process. Multiple people are called for questioning when their numbers figure on a suspect’s CDR or they are found in communication through any medium. Not everyone is a suspect. To be frank, we didn’t even know that Kaul had criticised the  government. We are focused on our case,” said a senior NIA official.

Another official said that the agency also hoped to get details on Malik’s health issues since the separatist leader keeps complaining about his ill health.

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