New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a chargesheet in the NIA special court against senior commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed including its Chief Maulana Masood Azhar, for their involvement in the terrorist attack at Pathankot Airbase on 2nd January, 2016.
Also Read : No lessons learnt from Pathankot, Uri attacks
Sanction for prosecution has been obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, under the Section 45(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, as amended.
Sanction of the District Magistrate, Pathankot as required under section 39 of the Arms Act, 1959, and under section 7 of the Explosives Substances Act, 1908, has also been obtained and has been submitted along with the chargesheet.
The NIA has filed charge sheet against four accused persons namely:
1. Maulana Masood Azhar: Chief of the terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
2. Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar: Deputy Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
3. Shahid Latif: launching commander, resident of Mor Aminabad, Gujranwala, Pakistan.
4. Kashif Jan: main handler of Pathankot attackers, resident of Charsada, Pakistan.
They have been charged for commission of offences under sections 120B, 121, 121A, 302, 307, 364, 365, 367, 368, 397 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 16, 18, 20, 23, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, section 25, 27 of the Arms Act, 1959, Sections 3(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and section 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, in the chargesheet.
The chargesheet states that the offences as noted above were also established against the attackers of JeM, namely Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum, who executed the terror attack at Pathankot Airbase on January 2nd, 2016.
Prosecution against these attackers was recommended to be abated since they are dead.
A Red Corner Notice (RCN) has been issued by the Interpol for the arrest of the three accused.
It was established during investigation that the terrorists entered into a criminal conspiracy to infiltrate into the territory of India and to commit terrorist attack and wage war against the Government of India.
In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, the accused persons, their leaders, handlers and co-conspirators including but not limited to Maulana Masood Azhar, Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif, set up training camps in Pakistan and the PoK area, for recruitment and training of terrorists, in order to carry out terror attacks on the Indian soil.
They illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost.
After infiltrating into the Indian side, these terrorists reached the road from Bhagwal village to Janial. On 31st December 2015, at around 9:30 p.m. they hijacked an Innova taxi bearing registration number PB06-G-0061, along with the driver, Ikagar Singh, who was going from village Bhagwal to Janial.
The terrorists snatched the mobile phone of Ikagar Singh and used the same to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan , and senior operatives in Pakistan, on three Pakistan mobile numbers 923453030479, 923213132786 and 923017775253.
Their vehicle met with an accident at the Dhusi turn near the Ravi River Bridge. The terrorists brutally killed Ikagar Singh and dumped his dead body in the nearby bushes. Thereafter, the terrorists drove the damaged Innova vehicle and abandoned it at a service station at Kolian Morh, district Pathankot.
During investigation, the DNA profiles recovered from the dagger, seized from the possession of one of the dead terrorists, matched with that of Ikagar Singh, thereby conclusively establishing that he had killed Ikagar Singh. Similarly, DNA profile of two terrorists was found on the Red Bull can, recovered from the vehicle of Ikagar Singh.
After abandoning the damaged Innova vehicle of Ikagar Singh at Kolian Morh, the terrorists hid in the nearby sugarcane fields and waited for a vehicle to come. They then hijacked a Mahindra XUV vehicle of Salvinder Singh, Supdt. of Police, Punjab Police, and moved towards the Air Force Station, Pathankot.
The terrorists pushed the three occupants inside the vehicle and took control of the vehicle. They snatched the mobile phones of the victims, and used them to communicate with their handler. After some time, the terrorists tied, blindfolded and dumped Salvinder Singh and his cook Madan Gopal, at an abandoned place in a forest area near village, Gulpur Simli, district Pathankot, on way to the Air Force Station, Pathankot.
However, they took the third occupant, i.e. Rajesh Verma, along with them. The dumped victims managed to untie themselves and rushed to the nearby village, Gulpur Simli, on foot for help.
The terrorists, on learning later from Rajesh Verma that Salvinder Singh was a police officer, informed their handler who directed them to go back and look for him. Since Salvinder Singh and Madan Gopal had already left the spot, the terrorists resumed their journey to the Air Force Station.
On January 1st 2016, the terrorists reached the village Akalgarh near the Air Force Station, Pathankot, where they tied Rajesh Verma and brutally slit his throat with an intention to kill him and abandoned him and the vehicle in the fields.
Thereafter, they moved towards the Air Force Station, Pathankot, on foot. Meanwhile, Rajesh Verma managed to untie himself and rushed to the nearby village, Akalgarh, for help.
Investigation revealed that after abandoning the Mahindra XUV vehicle, the terrorists moved to the western side of the Air Force Station on foot. The terrorists forced their entry into the Air Force Station, Pathankot, after cutting the wire fencing over the western side of the perimeter wall and then crossed it and entered the airbase on January 1st, early in the morning.
After getting inside the Air Force Station, the terrorists hid themselves inside the ‘nallah’ and the dilapidated MES Store sheds till the time they launched the assault. As per the forensic report, the shoe prints lifted from the ‘nallah’ matched with the shoes of a terrorist.
The terrorists launched the attack early in the morning on January 2nd. After noticing suspicious movement, the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force followed the terrorists from the MES Stores towards the MES Motor Transport (MT) Section.
In the gunfight that ensued between the Garud commandos and the terrorists, one Garud Commando, Cpl Gursevak Singh, was killed and two others were injured. The terrorists also specifically targeted fuel tanks of the vehicles parked in the MT Section setting them on fire, causing severe damage to the vehicles and the buildings, so as to cause panic.
During the operation, seven persons were martyred and 37 persons were injured inside the Air Force Station, Pathankot.
During investigation, NIA investigators collected sufficient evidence in terms of statements of the witnesses to establish that the terrorists had been trained, motivated and radicalised by Maulana Masood Azhar and Mufti Abdul Rauf.
It has also been established through legal intercepts and statements of witnesses, that Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif had guided, equipped and launched the four terrorists, who carried out the terrorist attack at the Air Force Station, Pathankot, killing and injuring innocent persons and destroying public property.
The recoveries from the scene of crime, material and documentary evidence, forensic reports and extensive call data analysis, conclusively establish the complicity of the terrorists of JeM, in the attack at the Pathankot Airbase.