The terrorists who carried out the suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last year spent a total of Rs 5.7 lakh in planning the attack, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA in the chargesheet against the terrorists has presented a detailed account of the expenses incurred by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist and mastermind of the attack, Mohd Umar Farooq, who is also the nephew of wanted terrorist Masood Azhar.
NDTV has seen the chargesheet. The funds totalling Rs 10 lakh came from Pakistan in five instalments between January and February last year in two accounts of Umar Farooq in Allied Bank and Meezan Bank.
“Umar Farooq asked Rauf Asgar Alvi and Ammar Alvi to send the funds to these accounts. We are examining how the money was eventually used in Jammu and Kashmir,” a senior NIA officer who has direct knowledge of the case told NDTV.
Investigators suspect the terrorists may have used the hawala route, where money exchanges hands in different locations simultaneously to evade the formal system of financial transactions.
According to the chargesheet, the Jaish terrorists bought a used Maruti Eeco van for Rs 1.85 lakh and modified it to carry explosives by spending Rs 35,000 more.
“Rs 2.25 lakh was spent on buying all sorts of explosive to make two IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and Rs 35,000 on aluminium, which they ordered online,” the NIA officer said, adding the terrorists received 4 kg aluminium in the Srinagar home of accused Waiz ul Islam, who has been arrested.
The chargesheet also mentions some routes used by Jaish terrorists in 2018-19 to infiltrate into India.
“One of the accused, Iqbal Rather, said he escorted four-five batches of terrorists from Samba sector in Jammu to Kashmir, and each batch had five terrorists,” said another NIA officer, who asked not to be named. The officer said Rather picked up terrorists who infiltrated into India along the Kali Bein river near Samba sector.
The NIA said Iqbal Rather recognised Umar Farooq when the latter was crossing into India. Technical data available with the anti-terror agency indicates the Pulwama suicide attack mastermind infiltrated from Samba sector along with four others on April 14, 2018.
“Iqbal Rather escorted Umar Farooq to Ashaq Nengro’s home in Kashmir valley, where he initially stayed. Then he kept changing locations to avoid detection,” the NIA officer said, adding Ashaq Nengro is on the run. The NIA suspects he is in Pakistan now and is managing a Jaish terror launch pad.
Umar Farooq wanted to carry out another attack, but after India’s airstrike at a Jaish camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, he decided to lie low.
During investigation, the NIA sought help from the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track WhatsApp messages that Jaish sent after the Pulwama attack. The messages were traced to Pakistan.
“After the Balakot airstrike, we have evidence to show that Rauf Asgar Alvi and Ammar Alvi tried to pinpoint the locations in Srinagar airport where Indian Air Force fighter jets are kept,” another NIA officer said, adding Umar Farooq activated the entire Jaish network in Kashmir valley to get the details.