NIA arrests truck driver who helped Naveed in Udhampur attack

  • PTI, Srinagar
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 21:32 IST
The sole militant caught alive after a terrorist attack on a BSF convoy that was travelling on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur district about 85km from Jammu, on Wednesday, August 05, 2015 (Agency Photo)

The first arrest in connection with the Udhampur attack was carried out by NIA on Friday as they apprehended a truck driver, who was claimed to have taken LeT terrorist Mohammed Naveed and his accomplice to Jammu on two occasions, including on August 4, a day before the duo ambushed a BSF bus, killing two of its personnel.

Khursheed Ahmed Bhat alias 'Surya' was arrested after he was identified by Naveed, a Pakistani national in his early 20s, who was captured by villagers after he tried to escape after the terror strike on August five.

Naveed, a resident of Faisalabad in Pakistan, has been in Srinagar since August 19 and NIA conducted Test Identification Parade of people detained by the local police in connection with the attack.

The driver, said to be an overground operative of the banned LeT, is a resident of Awantipura, 33 kms south of here.

In a related development, NIA also announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for capture of Abu Qasim, a Paksitani national hailing from Bhawalpur and commander of LeT's South Kashmir operations.

He is accused of arranging logistics including transportation, accomodation and food for Naveed and three other Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who infiltrated the Valley from Gulmarg sector in June this year.

NIA sources said Khursheed, a history-sheeter, had taken Naveed and his accomplice Mohammed Noman alias Momin to Jammu on July 20 on a reconnaissance mission during which the timings of convoys of BSF and Army were marked.

The militants initially wanted to attack either of the convoys then and there but decided against it at the last minute and were ferried back to the Kashmir Valley, officials said.

Khursheed, 35, has already served a prison term of two-and-a-half years for alleged drugs smuggling and cases are registered against him for involvement in stone-pelting incidents in 2010 and 2011, they said, adding he will be produced before Special NIA judge on Saturday for obtaining his custody.

Information about Khursheed was given by Naveed, who is in Srinagar in NIA custody.

After two days of stay in Kashmir Valley, Naveed was taken to Jammu on Friday by road for identifying the places where he had stayed with Momin before the duo left for Udhampur. He will be produced before a special NIA judge on Augsut 24, the day his custody with the anti-terror agency expires.

NIA has also released sketches of LeT terrorists, who were claimed to have infiltrated Jammu and Kashmir's Gulmarg sector with Naveed.

NIA on Friday released a photograph, which it had recovered during raids at various terror hideouts in the valley, of one of the accused identified as Abu Okasha, a resident of Khyber Paktukhwa in Pakistan. The agency also announced a cash reward of Rs five lakh on information leading to his arrest.

A similar cash reward has been announced for the fourth accomplice Zhargham who infiltrated India with Naveed and others.

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