Early on Sunday, India lost one of its National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials known for taking up high profile cases. A hard-worker and dedicated professional, Tanzil Ahmad was revered among his NIA colleagues and loved by his neighbours and family.
The 45-year-old Deputy Superintendent of NIA was shot dead by two unidentified masked men near his ancestral house in Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh. He was with his wife and two children; his wife was injured and taken to the hospital, while the 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son were left unharmed.
He was driving his car towards his house after a wedding, and had slowed down due to potholes, according to Daljeet Singh Chaudhary, ADG, Law and Order, Uttar Pradesh. He said in a quote to The Hindu, “The two assailants pulled up near his car and shot at him 24 times. It was a planned attack. Two bullets hit his wife. There was no attempt to harm the children.” He also said that six police teams were formed to investigate the attack. “It appears a 9-mm bore prohibited weapon was used; we have sent the empty cartridges for forensic examination,” he added. His wife is still in critical condition at the hospital.
He was given the status of a martyr by NIA Inspector General Sanjiv Kumar Singh.
At a press conference held to commemorate Ahmad’s death, Singh said that his family would be compensated. He said, “The family would be getting the extraordinary pension and all possible compensation has already been confirmed to his family. In addition, the Border Security Force (BSF) has granted Rs 20 lakh to Ahmad’s family.”
In 1991, Ahmad joined the Border Security Force (BSF), and had served his post at places along the Western and Eastern coasts. In 2009, he was deputed from the BSF and joined the team at NIA when it was formed following the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks.
According to S. K. Singh, Director-General of the NIA, he was one of the best officials they had. Other officials agree that he was an important part of their investigations, whether it was operations, gathering information, or field investigations.
An unnamed official told The Hindu, “He was part of the core team, and since we have a shortage of staff, he worked on almost all the cases registered in Delhi. He travelled a lot as part of his work.”
Ahmad has been involved in many investigations with his team, including cases related to the investigation of the Indian Mujahideen, which led to leader Yasin Bhatkal’s arrest in 2013, the Vardhaman blasts, and the infamous fake currency racket. His investigations helped bust the ISIS network within India, which led to many arrests.
According to an official who spoke to The Indian Express, “He had joined the cell a year ago and was very meticulous in his work. He never shied away from operations. He was working on cases related to FICN smuggling in Malda, West Bengal.”
While unconfirmed as yet, NIA officials think the attack was connected to one of his high profile investigations. In a quote to Firstpost, another unnamed senior official of the NIA said, “There’s a strong motive behind the killing of our officer. Prima facie evidence shows that professional killers were used to eliminate Tanzil.”