Top cardiologist is quizzed by NIA

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency on Friday "examined" a leading Delhi-based cardiologist and Batra Hospital Chairman Upendra Kaul for alleged links to Kashmiri insurgency after what appears to be confusion over blood test results of separatist leader Yasin Malik.

It was Kaul's SMS exchange with Malik that drew the attention of investigators. One of the messages said, ‘Blood Report Value INR 2.78’ - INR being Internationalised Normalised Ratio.

However, NIA may have interpreted INR to mean Indian rupees, and possibly assumed the reference was to "Rs. 2.78 crores in hawala money".

"In one of the messages, he might have sent me a report, or something, in which he wrote INR 2.78. But that unfortunately was misread as Indian National Rupees 2.78 million, or whatever.

So when they asked me, I just laughed and said this is not Indian National Rupee, this is Internationalized Normalised Ratio,’’ Kaul told NDTV. He was out of NIA office in 30 minutes.

The case in which Kaul was summoned dates back to 2017, when the NIA opened a probe into the funding of terrorist groups. Incidentally, Malik is in Tihar Jail in judicial custody in a terror funding case.

Kaul told the NIA that Malik had been his patient and had consulted him on heart trouble. The summons, however, have been linked by many to Kaul’s public criticism of

the Centre's move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. Asked whether he believed he had been summoned because of his opposition to the government's Kashmir move, he told NDTV: "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," Kaul added.

"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," Kaul had said in an interview to NDTV.

"We are checking everyone. We have vetted hundreds of documents, going into every minute detail to be sure of the facts which have to stand legal scrutiny," a senior NIA official explained.

Kaul has established cardiology units at several hospitals in the public and private sector, including at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and the Fortis chain of hospitals.

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