Lethpora Attack: NIA Files 13800 Page Charge-sheet Against 29 Accused, Including 6 Dead

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SRINAGAR: After around one a half years, federal investigator, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a thick charge-sheet in the Lethpora car bomb attack that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. The charge-sheet was filed before the NIA Court in Jammu against 19 accused, of whom seven are Pakistani nationals, reports in the media said.

A site of the blast at Lethpora Awantipora in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed on Feb 14, 2019.

NIA said of the seven Pakistani nationals charged in the terror attack, three had already been killed in the separate encounter but four are still at large. As many as 12 are Kashmiri residents, of whom some are killed, some still at large and some in detention. The arrested accused include a father and daughter.

The charged sheet that took more than a year to investigate runs over 13800 pages. The attack that brought India and Pakistan to war was the outcome of a Jaish militant Adil Ahmad Dar forcing an explosive-laden car to a bus that was part of the incoming CRPF convoy on February 14, 2019. While 40 CRPF personnel were killed eight survived with injuries, the charge sheet said.

According to a three-page statement put by NIA on its twitter, the charge sheet has been filed under sections 120-B, 121, 121-A, 122, 123, 307, 302 of the RPC, sections 7, 25, 27 of Arms Act, sections 3, 4, 5 & 6 of the Explosive Substances Act, sections 16, 17, 18, 18A, 18B, 19, 20, 21, 38 & 39 of the UA (P) Act, section 14C of Foreigners Act and section 4 of Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damages) Act, 1985.

Forces personnel near the site of the attack in Lethpora area of Awantipora.

Those booked in the case are:

Masood Azhar, 52 years, Pakistani national (Absconding)
Rouf Asgar, 47 years, Pakistani national (Absconding)
Ammar Alvi, 46 years, Pakistani national (Absconding)
Shakir Bashir, 24 Years, r/o Kakapora, Pulwama, J&K. (Arrested)
Insha Jan, 22 Years r/o Kakapora, Pulwama, J&K (Arrested)
Peer Tariq Ahmed Shah, 53 Years, r/o Kakapora, Pulwama, J&K (Arrested)
Waiz-ul-Islam, 20 Years, r/o Srinagar, J&K (Arrested)
Mohammad Abbas Rather, 31 Years, r/o Kakapura, Pulwama, J&K. (Arrested)
Bilal Ahmed Kuchhey, 28 years, r/o Hajibal, Lalhar, Pulwama, J&K (Arrested)
Mohammad Iqbal Rather, 25 years, r/o, Charar-e-Shareef, Budgam, J&K. (Arrested)
Mohammad Ismail, 25 years, r/o Pakistani national (Absconding)
Sameer Ahmad Dar, 22 years, r/o Kakapora, Pulwama, Kashmir (Absconding)
Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo, 33 years, r/o Rajpura, Pulwama. (Absconding)
Adil Ahmed Dar, 21 years, r/o Kakapora, Pulwama, Kashmir (Killed).
Muhammad Umar Farooq, 24 years, r/o Pakistani national (Killed)
Mohammad Kamran Ali, 25 years,  r/o Pakistani national (Killed)
Sajjad Ahmed Bhat, 19 years, r/o Bijbehera, Anantnag  (Killed)
Mudasir Ahmad Khan, 24 years, r/o Awantipura, Pulwama (Killed)
Qari Yasir, r/o Pakistani national (Killed)

The NIA has said that the attack was a result of a well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, an outfit that had sent its recruits to the terrorist training camps of Al-Qaida-Taliban-JeM and Haqqani-JeM in Afghanistan.

A senior officer of Army laying a wreath at a memorial of 40 paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who lost their lives last year at Lethpora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Kl Image by Bilal Bahadur

The main accused viz. Mohammad Umar Farooq also visited Afghanistan for explosives training in 2016-17. He infiltrated into India through International Border at Jammu-Samba Sector in April 2018 and took over as JeM Commander of Pulwama. Mohammad Umar along with his Pakistani compatriots Mohammad Kamran, Mohammad Ismail @ Saifullah and Qari Yasir and local associates Sameer Dar and Adil Ahmad Dar planned and prepared for the attack on security forces using IEDs.

Accused Shakir Bashir, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmad Shah and Bilal Ahmad Kuchey provided all logistics and harboured the JeM terrorists in their houses. From December 2018 onwards, Shakir Bashir started doing reconnaissance of the movement and deployment of security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Mudasir Ahmad Khan arranged Gelatine sticks and handed them over to Shakir Bashir. RDX was brought by the Pakistani terrorists who infiltrated into India. Shakir Bashir collected the explosive material RDX, Gelatine sticks, Aluminium power and Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate and stocked them at his house for making the IED.

In January 2019, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat purchased a Maruti EECO car for the purpose of carrying out the IED attack. The car was kept in the front-yard of Shakir Bashir’s house. Waiz-Ul-Islam ordered 04 kgs of Aluminium powder from his Amazon account on the directions of accused Mohammad Ismail @ Saifullah and gave the same to him.

Towards the end of January 2019, Mohammad Umar Farooq, Sameer Dar and Adil Dar made the propaganda video clip of the suicide attack at Insha Jan’s house which was released immediately after the attack.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying floral tribute to the CRPF men killed in Lethpora blast.

In the first week of February 2019, Mohammad Umar Farooq, Sameer Ahmad Dar, Adil Ahmad Dar and Shakir Bashir made the IED using RDX, Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate, Gelatine Sticks and Aluminium Powder and assembled it in two containers, one weighing around 160 Kgs and the second one weighing around 40 Kgs. The two IED containers were fitted in Maruti EECO car and were ready by the morning of February 6, 2019. However, because of heavy snowfall, the National Highway got closed for the vehicular movement.

On February 14, 2019, as the National Highway opened, Shakir Bashir drove Adil Ahmad Dar till National Highway, after which Adil Ahmad Dar took charge of the vehicle and drove on to the National Highway and carried out the suicide attack by ramming the Maruti EECO car laden with 200 Kgs of high-grade explosives into a bus of the CRPF convoy, resulting in the killing of 40 CRPF personnel and damage to the tune of Rs 32,90,719/- to the public property, the statement said.

The investigation has revealed that the Pakistan-based JeM leadership consisting of Masood Azhar, Rouf Asgar and Ammar Alvi @ Chacha @ Chota Masood were continuously giving directions and guidance to the Pakistani JeM terrorists (who had infiltrated into India) both before and after the attack. They had also planned to carry out another suicide attack which got averted due to Balakot strikes and due to killing of main conspirator Mohammad Umar Farooq by the security forces. Further, due to international pressure, Pakistan lied low.

The NIA charge-sheet against 19 accused persons marks the culmination of year and a half long painstaking and meticulous investigation with valuable inputs received from other Central and State government agencies as well as foreign law-enforcement agencies, the statement said. A lot of digital, forensic, documentary and oral evidence establishing a fool-proof case against the accused of 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. Court has issued non-bailable warrants against the accused.

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