Pathankot attack: NIA files chargesheet, names JeM chief Masood Azhar as key conspirator



New Delhi, December 19


The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Pathankot terror attack, filed a comprehensive chargesheet in connection with the case on Monday.

According to reports, Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar has been named as the mastermind of the terror attack on the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot in the NIA chargesheet.

Besides JeM chief Masood Azhar, the chargesheet also names his brother Rauf Asghar and two other top operatives.

The NIA filed the chargesheet in Panchkula special court in Punjab.  The chargesheet highlights JeM’s role in spreading mayhem in India and refers to the nefarious plans of the outfit, as per reports.

Immediately after the Pathankot incident, Rauf had hosted a video message claiming the responsibility for the terror strike and glorified the role of his brother Azhar, who was released in exchange for passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999.

The government will be using the chargesheet of NIA at various international fora to highlight the role of Masood Azhar in the case relating to the Pathankot terror strike carried out on 2 January this year.

The govt had launched a diplomatic offensive against the Jaish and its chief Masood Azhar after China continued to spurn New Delhi’s efforts in getting UN sanctions against the terrorist and his group.

The Home Ministry had earlier given sanction to NIA to file the chargesheet against Azhar, his brother and two handlers of four terrorists – Qashif Jan and Shaid Latif, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The four terrorists, after entering into India from Bamiyal area of Gurdaspur, had carried out the strike at the Pathankot IAF base killing eight people including seven personnel of IAF and NSG.

According to NIA, the terrorists, who were killed after two days of gunfight, were identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum and they were residents of Vehari (Punjab), Gujranwala (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Sukkur (Sindh) of Pakistan respectively.

The chargesheet will also include evidence of linking the footprints of one of the terrorists obtained from Bamiyal besides matching of DNA sample found from a soft- drink can in the hijacked car of Punjab Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh.

The Pathankot terror strike had seen a joint investigation team from Pakistan also arriving in India for carrying out a thorough probe.

However, the Pakistani team, upon their return, claimed that India neither shared much of evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.

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