A Maruti Eeco minivan was used in the Pulwama terror attack and it was bought and owned by a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative who had acquired the vehicle just ten days before the attack that claimed the lives of 44 CRPF personnel, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said Monday.
The JeM operative has been identified as Sajjad Bhat who is from Anantnag district. the terrorist has joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and his pictures carrying weapons have gone viral on social media since Monday morning. He has also been evading arrest, according to officials.
“Piecing together remnants of the vehicle used by the suicide bomber in the Pulwama attack on CRPF convoy, from the scene of incident, NIA investigators, with the support of forensic and automobile experts have been able to identify the vehicle used for the blast,” said a spokesman, in the statement.
All about the vehicle used in the Pulwama attack (NIA statement):
A Maruti Ecco vehicle having Chassis number MA3ERLF1SOO183735 Engine G12BN164140 was sold to Md Jaleel Ahmed Haqani a resident of Heaven colony, Anantnag in the year 2011.
It subsequently exchanged hands seven times and finally reached Sajjad Bhat son of Md Maqbool Bhat resident of Bijbehara, District Anantnag who had acquired the vehicle on 4.2.2019.
Sajjad was a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom, Shopain.
A raid was conducted by NIA team at his house with the help of J&K Police on 23rd February. However, Sajjad was found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest since then. He has reportedly now joined JeM.
“He has reportedly now joined JeM. A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where Sajjad is seen holding weapons.”
NIA took over the probe from J& K police
The NIA, a central agency established by the government to combat terror, took over the probe into the Pulwama attack from the Jammu and Kashmir Police on February 20 and re-registered the case.
NIA Director General Y C Modi, accompanied by senior officers of the agency, has visited the site of the attack, 33 km from Srinagar, where he was briefed by the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The state police had registered a case at the Awantipora police station on February 14 after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, which was part of a 78-vehicle convoy carrying over 2,500 personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.
The NIA has already gathered crucial material from the blast site in Lethpora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir and has been involved in the questioning of around a dozen people detained by the police following the blast, officials said.
The NIA is probing planning and execution of the terror attack, the second such strike in three decades of militancy in the state. In 2000, a 17-year-old Kashmiri boy had blown himself outside the Srinagar-based army cantonment, killing two Army men.
Tensions are high between the neighbours following the ghastly February 14 attack
India has destroyed JeM camps in pakistan by launching another strike today. This operation comes two week after the terror attack in Pulwama in which over 44 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed when a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed exploded a car full of bombs next to a security convoy.
A 22-year-old Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar was identified as the suicide bomber who carried out the attack. Accused of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks the state has ever witnessed, Dar lived just 10 kilometres away from the attack spot in Gundibagh.
Soon after the Pulwama terror attack, India had appealed to the international community to back the naming of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.
On September 29, 2016, the army had carried out surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in retaliation to an attack on its base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri earlier that month.
Stay connected with Awaaznation for all updates.