The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday (August 25) filed a chargesheet for the 2019 Pulwama attack, naming Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and 18 others as the conspirators of the suicide operation that killed 40 CRPF personnel in south Kashmir.
Others named in the 13,500-page chargesheet are Azhar’s brothers Abdul Rauf and Ammar Alvi, and his nephew Mohammed Umer Farooq who had infiltrated into India in April 2018, and was subsequently killed by security forces in an encounter in South Kashmir.
“A lot of digital, forensic, documentary and oral evidence establishing a fool-proof case against the accused for this dastardly and barbaric attack has been collected. The charge sheet has brought on record the all-out involvement of Pakistan-based entities to carry out terrorist strikes in India and to incite and provoke Kashmiri youth,” according to NIA.
Sameer Dar and Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo, both residents of Pulwama in South Kashmir, and Mohd Ismail, a Pakistani national, as absconders, were also named by the NIA. The probe agency has secured non-bailable warrants against these six from a special court in Jammu.
A total of seven accused in the case were killed in different encounters last year.
Officials said evidence and statements of arrested terrorists and their sympathisers were gathered in order to expose the conspiracy hatched by JeM’s Pakistan-based leadership. Azhar’s video and audio recordings praising the attack are also part of the chargesheet, said reports.
How the attack was planned?
The NIA termed Azhar’s nephew Farooq as the main conspirator. He visited Afghanistan for explosives training in 2016-17 and infiltrated into India through the International Border at Jammu-Samba Sector in April 2018. He took over as JeM Commander of Pulwama.
Farooq along with his Pakistani compatriots Mohd. Kamran, Mohd. Ismail alias Saifullah and Qari Yasir and local associates Sameer Dar and Adil Ahmad Dar planned and prepared for the attack on security forces using IEDs.
The other accused — Shakir Bashir, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmad Shah and Bilal Ahmad Kuchey — provided all logistics and harboured the JeM terrorists in their houses.
Procurement of explosives
From December 2018 onwards, Bashir started doing reconnaissance of the movement and deployment of security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Another accused Mudasir Ahmad Khan started arranging Gelatin sticks and handed them over to him.
RDX was brought by the Pakistani terrorists who infiltrated into India while Bashir collected the explosive material like Aluminium powder and Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate and stocked them at his house for making the IED.
According to the chargesheet, Waiz-Ul-Islam, who was arrested from Srinagar, had ordered 4 kgs of Aluminium powder from an e-commerce platform on the directions of Mohd. Ismail and gave the same to him. Ismail is also named in the chargesheet.
In January last year, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat purchased a Maruti EECO car, for the purpose of carrying out the IED attack, which was kept in the front-yard of Bashir’s house.
The video clip of the suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar was finished by January end last year as the terrorists were planning to carry out the attack on security forces in the first week of February but had to shelve it following the closure of the national highway due to snow.
Two IED containers (160 kgs and 40 kgs) comprising an explosive cocktail of RDX, Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate, Gelatin Sticks and Aluminium powder were fitted in the vehicle.
On resumption of traffic, Shakir Bashir drove Dar till the National Highway, after which the suicide bomber took charge of the vehicle and drove on, carrying out the suicide attack by ramming the car laden with 200 Kgs of explosives into a bus of the CRPF convoy.
The attack resulted in “40 CRPF personnel getting martyred and damage to the tune of ₹32,90,719 to public property.”
The investigation has revealed that the Pakistan-based JeM leadership consisting of Masood Azhar, Rouf Asgar and Ammar Alvi were continuously giving directions and guidance to the Pakistani JeM terrorists who had infiltrated into India both before and after the attack.
They had planned another suicide attack which got averted due to the airstrikes by India in Balakot and due to the killing of Umar Farooq. Moreover, the probe agency said, because of the international pressure, Pakistan lied low.
The probe also showed “a well-crafted mechanism by the Pakistani establishment to push terrorists into the Indian territory from the launch pads located in Shakargarh (Pakistan) opposite Samba-Kathua Sector in Jammu,” according to the NIA.
(With inputs from agencies)