Jammu Attack: Govt Hands Over Probe To NIA

SRINAGAR: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday formally handed over the investigation into the first of its kind drone attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Jammu on Sunday to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

A press release from the National Investigation Agency said investigators have registered a case of attempted murder and conspiracy (sections 307 and 120B) of the Indian Penal Code; unlawful activities and conspiracy (Sections 13, 16, 18 and 23)  of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act; and causing explosions (sections 3 and 4) of the Explosive Substances Act 1908.

“The case relates to an explosion that occurred inside the premises of the Air Force Station, Satwari campus, Jammu on 27.06.2021 and a subsequent blast, after about 6 minutes carried out by drones in a well-planned conspiracy that led to the injury to two Air Force personnel and damaged the office buildings,” the statement said.

“While NIA has been working with other agencies since immediately after the incident, pursuant to reregistration of the case, requisite actions as per law, for expeditious investigation of case have been initiated.”

Before the decision taken by the MHA, multiple agencies, including the NIA, National Security Guards (NSG) along with the local police and Air Force authorities were looking into the case.

“In investigations at the attack site, the investigators have not yet been able to find parts of any drone. This suggests that the drones used to carry out the attack dropped the explosives over the airbase and were navigated away from the area by their handlers,” newspaper The Tribune quoted sources as having said.

NIA had sent its team from Srinagar office to the Jammu Air Force station early Sunday morning to collect some primary evidence from the blast site. Later, evidence was sent to Delhi for forensic tests, the report quoted officials in the NIA as having said.

Meanwhile, according to report sources said, investigators have also retrieved two unexploded IEDs from the blast site, which could hold clues for further investigation, as they have added to the mystery to the attack leading to suspicion that the two suspected drones had a significant payload carrying capacity.

“The aerial attack is a first of its kind in the country. But this is the 45th drone strike carried out across the globe so far this year. While drone strikes are carried out by state agencies, aerial hits by groups through such machines are dubbed ‘attacks’ and the agencies are seeking to discriminate between the two through the ongoing investigation,” newspaper The Tribune quoted a senior official in the investigative agency as having said.

The explosions took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-story building at the technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari area on the outskirts of the city. The second one was on the ground.

The explosive material dropped by the drones might have been manufactured using a cocktail consisting of RDX, but a final confirmation was still awaited, reported The Tribune.

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