Wrapping up investigations in the Pathankot airbase attack case, the National Investigation Agency on Monday filed a charge sheet against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy of the January two audacious terror strike that left seven personnel dead and 37 others injured.
The charge sheet was filed in the NIA court at Panchkula in which all the four have been slapped with charges under Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Besides Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and two handlers -- Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan -- have been named in the exhaustive charge sheet. While Interpol Red Corner Notice against three has been issued, the same was pending against Jan, the NIA said.
The charge sheet will also put to rest speculation about the number of terrorists involved in the attack as the agency gave details of only four militants. There was confusion about the number of terrorists as Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had informed that the number was six.
The charge sheet also hinted of lax security at the strategic IAF base in Pathankot and said that the four terrorists -- Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom -- who were Pakistani nationals belonging to Jaish, had entered the premises at 0840 hours of January one and entrenched themselves in a drain and adjacent shed belonging to Military Engineering Services.
The terrorists were engaged in a gunfight only at 0320 hours of January two, 19 hours after they had entered the IAF base.
The charge sheet is likely to be used by India in advocating its case for imposing sanctions against Azhar, released in 1999 in exchange of IC-814 hijacked Indian
Airlines Plane, under the United Nations anti-terror law, officials said.
The terror case saw an unusual move from India and Pakistan as Islamabad had sent its probe team to Pathankot.
They were handed over all the documents and allowed to question everyone except security personnel involved in foiling the attempts of the terrorists.
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.
Giving details about the infiltration and activities of the four terrorists, the NIA said in its charge sheet that all the four terrorists underwent extensive motivational, physical, military and tactical training and were radicalised to carry out terror strikes in India.
The four terrorists armed with ammunition and other logistical items illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost on December 30.
Empty food packets manufactured in Pakistan and other food articles from the neighbouring country were recovered from the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost, during investigation.
After infiltrating into the Indian side, these terrorists reached the road from Bhagwal village to Janial.
On December 31, at around 2130 hours, they hijacked a taxi bearing registration number PB06-G-0061, along with the driver, Ikagar Singh, who was going from village Bhagwal to Janial. The terrorists snatched the mobile phone of Ikagar Singh and used the same to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, on three Pakistan mobile numbers 923453030479, 923213132786 and 923017775253.
Their vehicle met with an accident at the Dhusi turn near the Ravi River Bridge after which the terrorists brutally killed Ikagar Singh and dumped his dead body in the nearby bushes.
Thereafter, the terrorists drove the damaged vehicle and abandoned it at a service station at Kolian Morh in Pathankot.
During investigation, the DNA profiles recovered from the dagger, seized from the possession of one of the dead terrorists (Nisar), matched with that of Ikagar Singh, thereby conclusively establishing that he had killed Ikagar Singh.
Similarly, DNA profile of two terrorists was found on an energy drink can, recovered from the vehicle of Ikagar Singh. After abandoning the damaged vehicle of Ikagar Singh at Kolian Morh, the terrorists hid in the nearby sugarcane fields and waited for a vehicle to come.
They hijacked a Mahindra XUV bearing registration number PB02-BW-0313 of Salvinder Singh, Superintendent of Punjab Police, and moved towards the Air Force Station, Pathankot after taking control of the vehicle.
They snatched the mobile phones of the victims and used them to communicate with their handler, Kashif Jan and senior leaders and operatives of the JeM in Pakistan on the four Pakistan numbers -- 923453030479, 923466746667, 923000957212 and 923024880619.
After some time, the terrorists tied, blindfolded and dumped Salvinder Singh and his cook Madan Gopal at an abandoned place in a forest area near village Gulpur Simli on way to the Air Force Station, Pathankot.
However, they took the third occupant, Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, along with them.
Singh and his cook managed to untie themselves and rushed to the nearby Gulpur Simli village on foot for help, the charge sheet said, adding the terrorists, on learning later from Verma that Singh was a police officer, informed their handler who directed them to go back and look for him.
Since the duo had already left the spot, the terrorists resumed their journey to the Air Force Station.
Six protected persons, a jailed terrorist and officials of Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Department of Justice figure as witnesses in the chargesheet filed by the NIA.
The NIA submitted scientific, oral and technical evidences before the special NIA court at Panchkula in Chandigarh.
Among the list of witnesses is Mohammed Sadeek alias Muviya, a resident of Ghalotiakalan in Pakistan’s Sialkot district and Abdul Rahman Mogul, a resident of Polas village of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir's Poonch district.
These two witnesses had helped in identifying voices and a couple of bodies of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists who had carried out attack at the strategic IAF base in which seven personnel were killed and 37 others injured.
The NIA has submitted statement of six witnesses in a sealed cover before the court and prayed before the court that the names of these people should be kept secret under Section 44(3) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 17 of National Investigation Agency Act (Protection of witnesses).
The list of witnesses also names a Special Agent of FBI and an official of US Department of Justice who had executed the Indian request sent under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for getting the details from Facebook and other websites on which Jaish had uploaded an audio file claiming responsibility for the attack.
Besides Azhar, the NIA has named his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asgar and two handlers of four terrorists -- Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif in the chargesheet.
There is no mention of Singh, his cook Madan Gopal and Verma in the list of witnesses.
At around 4 am on January 1, the terrorists reached village Akalgarh near the Air Force Station in Pathankot and tied Rajesh Verma.
They slit his throat with an intention to kill him and abandoned him and the vehicle in the sugarcane fields at around 0400 hrs. Thereafter, they moved towards the IAF Station on foot.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Verma managed to untie himself and rushed to the Akalgarh village for help, the NIA said, adding as per the forensic report collected during investigation, the DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the energy drink can, recovered from the Mahindra XUV vehicle, matched with that of a deceased terrorist.
The DNA profile of the genetic material lifted from the dagger recovered from the possession of another terrorist matched with that of the victims Verma and Ikagar Singh.
Similarly, the profile of the trace DNA lifted from the handle of the dagger, matched with that of another terrorist. The seat belt of the Mahindra XUV was cut and used to tie one of the victims.
As per the forensic report, the seat belt pieces recovered from the forest area, where the terrorists had dumped Singh and his cook, matched with the remaining seat belt pieces of the Mahindra XUV vehicle.
A walkie-talkie set belonging to the terrorists and a slip written in English were recovered from the Mahindra vehicle. The terrorists had left the slip in which it was written, "Jaish E Muhamad Zindabad Tanghdar se le kar Samba Kathua Rajbagh Aur Delhi tak Afzal Guru Shadeed Kay Jan nisar Tum ko meltay rahege. Insha Allah. A.G.S. 25-12-15".