India hopes evidence will help it get Azhar tagged ‘global terrorist’ by UN.
New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency on Monday filed its chargesheet over the attack on the Pathankot airbase that named Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy. The chargesheet filed before the designated NIA court at Panchkula under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Besides Azhar the chargesheet also names his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and two handlers, Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan. It says four militants were involved in the attack, who were identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom, all Pakistani nationals and Jaish operatives.
India is expected to use the chargesheet and details of the evidence to get Masood Azhar declared as a designated global terrorist at international forums, particularly the United Nations. The chargesheet clearly says the entire conspiracy was hatched by Masood Azhar and his brother Rauf Asghar, while the two handlers, Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan, helped execute the actual plan.
Giving details of the entire conspiracy, the chargesheet notes how the four terrorists underwent extensive motivational, physical, military and tactical training and were radicalised to carry out terror strikes in India. They were provided arms and ammunition and other logistical help, after which they infiltrated into India through the forest area near the Simbal border outpost on December 30. Empty food packets manufactured in Pakistan and other food articles from the neighbouring country were recovered from the forest area near Simbal during the course of investigations.
Importantly, the NIA document gives details of how the terrorists communicated with their handler Kashif Jan and senior Jaish-e-Mohammed figures in Pakistan, on three Pakistani mobile numbers 923453030479, 923213132786 and 923017775253. During investigation, DNA profiles were recovered from the dagger seized from one of the dead terrorists, Nisar. Similarly, the DNA profile of two terrorists was found on an energy drink can, recovered from a vehicle which they had snatched after killing its driver, Ikagar Singh.
The four militants had also hijacked a Mahindra XUV that belonged to Salvinder Singh, superintendent of Punjab police, and moved towards the Air Force Station. One walkie-talkie set belonging to the terrorists and one slip written in English were recovered from the Mahindra XUV. The terrorists had left the slip in which it was written: “Jaish E Muhamad Zindabad Tanghdar se le kar Samba Kathua Rajbagh Aur Delhi tak Afzal Guru Shadeed Kay Jan nisar Tum ko meltay rahege. Insha Allah. A.G.S. 25-12-15”.
The chargesheet also has details of DNA samples and other forensic material collected from the vehicles that the militants hijacked, which helped the NIA piece together the entire sequence of events. NIA officials claimed they had sufficient scientific, technical and oral evidence.
The NIA has also mentioned the names of six protected persons, a jailed terrorist and officials of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and US department of justice as witnesses in the chargesheet. The NIA has submitted the statements of six witnesses in sealed cover, and urged that the names of these people be kept secret.
The list of witnesses also includes the names of a FBI special agent and a US justice department official who had executed the Indian request sent under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to get details from Facebook and other websites on which Jaish had uploaded an audio file claiming responsibility for the attack.