Cracking Pulwama: How a mobile phone led to crucial breakthroughs
New Delhi, Mar 09: The National Investigation Agency had a painstaking job ahead when it took over the probe into the Pulwama attack. The NIA hit a dead end almost immediately after taking over the probe, but over the past couple of months the agency made crucial breakthroughs.
The key to these breakthroughs was the mobile phone of a dead suspect. Thanks to this the NIA was able to get crucial numbers, which finally led it up to the suspects. The phone also had several images, which depicted the planning ahead of the attack. The phone belonged to Mohammad Umar Farooq, who was one of the key planners.
Last week, two persons, including the one who procured chemicals online for making the IED used in the Pulwama attack, were arrested by the NIA.
Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred in the deadly terror attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama district last year after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive laden car in the paramilitary force's convoy.
Waiz-ul-Islam (19) of Srinagar's Bagh-e-Mehtab locality and Mohammad Abbass Rather (32) of Hakripora village in Pulwama district were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the official said.
The number of people arrested in the case now stands at five.
Earlier, a father-daughter duo and a close aide of the suicide bomber were arrested in two separate operations.
"During initial interrogation, Islam disclosed that he used his Amazon online shopping account to procure chemicals for making IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), batteries and other accessories on the directions of Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists," the official said.
He said Islam personally delivered the items to JeM terrorists after procuring the incriminating material online from the delivery portal as a part of the conspiracy to carry out the Pulwama attack.
"Rather is an old over-ground worker (OGW) of the JeM. He has disclosed that he gave shelter at his home to Jaish terrorist and IED expert Mohd Umar after he came to Kashmir in April-May 2018," the official said.
Rather also harboured JeM terrorists - suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, Sameer Ahmed Dar and Kamran, a Pakistani - at his house a number of times in the run up to the Pulwama attack, he said.
"He also facilitated safe shelter for the JeM terrorists, including Adil, at the house of accused Tariq Ahmed Shah and his daughter Insha Jan of Hakripora, who were arrested on March 3," the official said.
He said Islam and Rather will be produced before the NIA special court in Jammu on Saturday, while further investigation in the case continues.
The NIA took over the case to probe the conspiracy behind the February 14, 2019, attack in Pulwama.
The last video of Adil, which was released by the JeM from Pakistan after the terror attack, was filmed at the residence of Tariq Ahmed Shah. On February 28, the NIA achieved a major breakthrough in the case when it arrested 22-year-old Shakir Bashir Magrey, a furniture shop owner and resident of Hajibal in Pulwama's Kakapora.
Magrey had provided shelter and other logistical assistance to suicide bomber Adil. He was introduced to Adil in mid- 2018 by Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Umar Farooq and he became a full-time OGW of the JeM.
The explosives used in the attack were determined through forensic probe to be ammonium nitrate, nitro-glycerin and RDX. During investigation into the attack, the identity of the suicide bomber to be Adil Ahmad Dar was confirmed through DNA matching with that of his father.
The other key terrorists involved in the attack have been found to be JeM's south Kashmir divisional commander Muddasir Ahmad Khan, killed in an operation by security forces on March 11 last year; Pakistani terrorists Muhammad Umar Farooq and IED expert Kamran, both killed on March 29 last year; the owner of the car Sajjad Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Anantnag who was killed on June 16 last year; and Qari Yassir, JeM's commander for Kashmir who was killed on January 25 this year.