SRINAGAR: Authorities in Kashmir Monday claimed to have busted a "sleeper cell" of Hizbul Mujahideen run by an NRI doctor based in the UK who was arrested from Srinagar airport, minutes before he was to board a flight.

Dr Shaheen Ahmad Baba, a resident of Chadoora village in central Kashmir's Budgam district, who is married to an American national of Pakistani origin, was arrested along with two cousins and two more persons for allegedly planning to carry out "sensational acts of terror by way of IED blasts".

The Jammu and Kashmir police claimed to have recovered one Chinese pistol with magazine, 25 live rounds, "incriminating" documents and a mobile phone from the members of the cell. The other arrested persons have been identified as Mudasir Ahmad Baba alias Auranzaib and Basharat Hussain Baba, both cousins of Shaheen, Uqab Ahmad Wazir and Manzoor Ahmad, whose militant brother was killed in an encounter some years ago. All of them are residents of Chrari Sharief town.

A press handout of J&K Police stated that Dr Shaheen, who worked as a physiotherapist in the United Kingdom where he is based in London since 2006, had visited Pakistan where he got in touch with "HM Commanders", "On their directions, (he) established the sleeper cell. The group was planning to carryout IED blasts in the valley especially in Srinagar city," the handout said.

A case (FIR No. 134/2015) has been registered under section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act at Sadder Police station in Srinagar against them. "Further investigations are going on which may lead to more arrests," the handout said.

The father of Dr Shaheen along with that of Mudasir and Basharat have been associated with Jama'at-i-Islami in Kashmir for a long time. Family sources said Dr Shaheen had come to attend the wedding of his sister at Chadoora and was about to leave for his native place when the forces, believed to be a joint team of J&K Police and National Investigation Agency, held him his along with his friend, another relative and uncle who had come to drop him at Srinagar airport.

"The wedding function got over just last week. He had come to visit home after a long time. He was very happy to be with his family and had even offered the newly-weds to come over for a vacation," one of his family members said.

The family members rubbished the allegations that he ran a militant module, saying that the police is unnecessarily harassing him, "The police is levelling false allegations against him. He is being targeted because he is a Kashmiri Muslim married to a Pakistani girl. His biggest crime is that he was successful in his life," the family member said, wishing anonymity.