Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

Pulwama Attack: Year On, NIA Arrests Aide Of Suicide Bomber, Says Major Breakthrough

NIA arrested a 22-year-old who allegedly provided shelter and other logistical assistance to the suicide-bomber Adil Ahmad Dar

Scene of the attack site in Awantipora, Pulwama where a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist attacked a CRPF convoy and killed at least 40 Jawans in a suicide blast PTI Photo

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Friday said it achieved a major breakthrough in the Lethpora, Pulwama suicide attack as the agency arrested an aide of Jaish militant Adil Ahmad Dar, who carried the suicide attack on Feb 14 last year.

The NIA has arrested 22-year-old Shakir Bashir Magrey an Over Ground Worker (OGW) of Jaish-e-Mohammed, who provided logistical assistance to Dar, according to the agency.

“A furniture shop owner, Shakir Bashir Magrey . He was introduced to Adil Ahmad Dar in mid-2018 by a Pakistani militant Mohammad Umar Farooq and he became a full-time OGW of JeM,” the NIA statement said.

It said that during his initial interrogation, Magrey has disclosed that on several occasions he collected and delivered arms, ammunition, cash and explosive material to the JeM militants including those involved in the Pulwama attack.

“Accused Shakir Bashir Magrey has further revealed that he had harboured Adil Ahmad Dar and Pakistani militant Mohammad Umar Farooq in his house from late 2018 till the attack in February 2019, and assisted them in the preparation of the IED,” the statement said.

“His shop is located near Lethpora bridge, and as advised by Mohammad Umar, he started conducting reconnaissance of the movement of CRPF convoy on Jammu-Srinagar Highway in January 2019, and informed Mohammad Umar and Adil Ahmad Dar about it.”

The NIA statement further said he was also involved in modifying the Maruti Eeco car and fitting the IED in it in early February 2019.

“During investigation, the make, model and number of the car used in the attack was quickly ascertained by NIA to be a Maruti Eeco car through forensic examination of the tiny remnants of the car, which were seized from the spot during extended searches."

"This has been corroborated by accused Shakir Bashir Magrey,” the statement said, adding that the explosives used in the attack were determined to be Ammonium Nitrate, Nitro-Glycerin and RDX through forensic investigation.

“Investigation has also confirmed the identity of the suicide bomber to be Adil Ahmad Dar through DNA matching with that of his father."

Other key militants involved in the attack have been found to be Muddasir Ahmad Khan, (JeM’s Divisional Commander of South Kashmir killed in an operation by security forces on 11-03-2019) Pakistani militants Muhammad Umar Farooq and IED expert Kamran, (both killed on 29-03-2019) the owner of the car Sajjad Ahmad Bhat killed on 16-06-2019 and Qari Yassir, JeM’s Commander for Kashmir,killed on 25-01-2020.

The NIA statement said that the attack on the CRPF convoy, moving from Jammu towards Srinagar on 14-02-2019 at Pulwama, with an IED-laden vehicle by Dar had claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel and grievously injured many others.

“OGW Shakir Bashir Magrey was produced before the NIA Special Court at Jammu today and remanded to 15 days of NIA custody for his detailed interrogation,” the statement said.

At least 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personnel were killed and another 20 injured last year when a jaish militant drove a car carrying explosives into a convoy of vehicles carrying troops on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.