NIA files supplementary chargesheet, names Pulwama attack mastermind’s aides
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed a supplementary chargesheet against four Jaish-e-Mohammad operatives including Sajjad Ahmad Khan, who was in direct touch with last year’s Pulwama attack mastermind Mudassir Khan (now dead).
Others charged under terror charges by NIA on Wednesday include Bilal Ahmad Mir, Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat and Mehraj-ud-Din Chopan.
A NIA spokesperson said the JeM’s senior commanders including Mudassir Khan had hatched a criminal conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in different parts of India including Delhi-NCR. “Mudassir Khan was one of the main conspirators in the Pulwama terror attack as well and was killed in an encounter with the police and security forces in Tral area of district Pulwama on March 10 last year. Sajjad was directly in touch with Mudassir Khan while Ishfaq was involved in transportation of arms and ammunitions for strengthening JeM in Kashmir and also harboured the operatives of JeM,” spokesperson Alok Mittal said.
The February 14 Pulwama attack brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war with the Indian Air Force destroying a terror camp deep inside Pakistan’s Balakot.
Sajjad was sent by Mudassir to New Delhi to set up a base and carry out attacks in the NCR.
In the first chargesheet filed in September last year, NIA had mentioned that Mudassir was interacting with other cadres and his handlers in Pakistan through “virtual mobile numbers” generated mostly in the US to gave shape to the conspiracy for carrying out fidayeen attacks across India.
A virtual mobile number works through a server for which users sign up for a service by downloading an app on their smart phones. A number is generated by the app syncing it with a social media platform like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc or an email account without linking it to a physical SIM. The internet calls made from within the app are connected to the user on the other side even if he/she doesn’t have that app. These virtual numbers are used by terrorists these days to hide their identity as registration with Aadhar or any other photo ID is now mandatory in India to get a physical SIM.
The previous chargesheet named Sajjad, Mir and two other JeM members - Tanvir Ahmad Ganie and Muzzafar Ahmad Bhat.
Sajjad was arrested by the Delhi police in March 2019 from Old Delhi while he was conducting a reconnaissance of several targets for more attacks and was handed over to the NIA. Others were arrested in consecutive months.
NIA’s September chargesheet, HT has reviewed a copy, says that Pakistan based JeM terrorist – Kari Mufti Yaseer, who infiltrated into India a few months before the Pulwama attack with a purpose to recruit, train and motivate local Kashmiri youth to carry out fidayeen attacks, was using the virtual mobile number +18143261052 through which he was in touch with Mudassir Khan and Tanvir Ganie. Yaseer was sent to India by the JeM leadership to oversee these fidayeen attacks. He is yet to be arrested.
Bilal Mir, arrested in April, was using a virtual number - +19016677146 linked to WhatsApp. In one of the chats through this number, Bilal even told Sajjad that he wanted to become a fidayeen like Adil Ahmad Mir. Adil Ahmad Mir was the main bomber in Pulwama attack who blew himself up with the Maruti Eeco van killing 43 CRPF personnel.
“Bilal sent the video of Adil (Pulwama suicide bomber) on February 14 itself asking Sajjad if such an attack was planned, then he be considered for fidayeen like Adil,” NIA chargesheet states.
After the Pulwama attack, Bilal also asked Mudassir Khan if he can carry out the next such big attack. “On February 15, at about 10.24 hours, Bilal requested Mudassir as ‘next main karunga insha allah’ (I will carry out the next suicide attack),” states the NIA chargesheet.
Before his arrest in March from Delhi, NIA says, Sajjad had already conducted a reconnaissance in areas like Civil Lines, BK Dutt Colony, Kashmere Gate, Ghaziabad, Lodhi Estate, Mandi House, Daryaganj, South Block and Central Secretariat.