Using footage from the crime scene, Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday identified the armed men who robbed a bank in South Kashmir as militants from the banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The militants had struck a Jammu and Kashmir Bank branch in Ratnipora area in Pulwama on Thursday, looting around Rs 10 lakh – of which around Rs 16,000 was in demonetised notes and the rest in new currency.
The crime was caught on the banks CCTV surveillance, which showed the gunmen roughing up people.
“From analysing the CCTV footage, we have been able to clearly identify the three militants involved in the robbery... (They are part of) a module of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and have been active for a year now,” superintendent of police, Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat told Hindustan Times.
The module comprises of three militants -- two foreigners named Abu Ali and Abu Ismail, and a local militant named Arif Dar, Bhat added.
Police said Abu Ali and Arif Dar had entered the bank while two others had waited outside.
This was the third incident of bank robbery in the Valley after the demonetisation move and Bhat said the same LeT module has been behind all of them.
On November 21, suspected militants robbed a bank in Chrar-e-Sharief area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district and escaped with nearly Rs 14 lakh cash.
Days later, Pulwama police arrested five workers of the LeT who helped the militants in the robbery.
Police had then said the conspiracy of robbing the bank was hatched and masterminded by Arif Dar, Abu Ali and Abu Ismail.
On December 8, four militants looted a branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Arihal in Pulwama district and fired several rounds before fleeing with nearly Rs 14 lakh.
Asked about why there were repeated attacks on banks in Kashmir after demonetisation, Bhat said that it was because of the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
The SP said militant were taking to looting banks because demonetisation had forced a cash crunch.