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Car used in Pulwama terror attack was bought 10 days before bombing, owner on run

Sajjad Bhat, who is from south Kashmir’s Shopian district, has now joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group and his pictures carrying weapons have gone viral on social media since Monday morning. He has also been evading arrest, according to officials.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2019 00:01 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14. (REUTERS)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified the owner of vehicle, a Maruti Eeco, used in the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.

Sajjad Bhat, who is from Anantnag district, has joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and his pictures carrying weapons have gone viral on social media since Monday morning. He has also been evading arrest, according to officials.

Officials said that NIA has made a significant breakthrough in the investigation into the terror attack on CRPF convoy that took place on February 14 in which 40 jawans were killed when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed the explosive-laden Eeco into one of the buses.

Read: ‘Give proof on Pulwama attack, we will act’: Imran Khan to PM Modi

An NIA spokesman said that piecing together remnants of the vehicle used by the suicide bomber in the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF convoy, from the scene of incident, NIA investigators, with the support of forensic and automobile experts have been able to identify the vehicle used for the blast.

Sajjad Bhat, who is from Anantnag district, has joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), officials said.

“A Maruti Eeco vehicle having Chassis number MA3ERLF1SOO183735 Engine G12BN164140 was sold to Mohammad Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Heaven colony, Anantnag in the year 2011. It subsequently exchanged hands seven times and finally reached Sajjad Bhat, son of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, resident of Bijbehara, district Anantnag, who had acquired the vehicle on February 4. Sajjad was a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom, Shopain,” the spokesman said.

He said after getting details, a raid was conducted by NIA team at his house with the help of J&K Police on Saturday.

“Sajjad was found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest since then. He has reportedly now joined Jaish-e-Mohammad. A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where Sajjad is seen holding weapons,’ the spokesman said.

On Monday morning, the picture of Sajjad alias Afzal Guru who according to the picture was part of fidayeen squad went viral on the social media. In the picture he was carrying Ak 47 rifles, grenades and pistols.

Meanwhile, four of the five CRPF personnel injured in the attack have been discharged. One soldier is still undergoing treatment at 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 19:30 IST