The three terrorists arrested on Thursday revealed the involvement of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists in the 2016 attack on Nagrota army base.
'Interrogation of three terrorists arrested in the Nagrota attack case, namely Md Ashiq Baba, Tariq Ahmed Dar, Muneer-ul-Hassan Qadri has revealed that they were in regular touch with JeM commanders based in Pakistan,' read a statement from the National Investigation Agency.
As per the NIA, the three arrested were in continuous touch through WhatsApp with Maulana Mufti Ashghar, based in Muzaffarabad, whose nephew Waqas (JeM commander in South Kashmir) was killed in an encounter near Pulwama recently.
Besides him, the trio was also in touch with Qari Zarar (another commander in charge of launching terrorists in the Jammu region) based out of Rawalpindi and Waseem and Abu Talha.
According to the NIA, in furtherance of the conspiracy to conduct attacks on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorist Ashiq Baba visited Pakistan four times crossing the Wagah border (between 2015 to 2017) legally.
He obtained his visas after getting reference letters from Huriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Gillani, Gani Bhat and Maulana Umar Farooq.
During his visits, he met with JeM commanders and took directions from them after getting clearance from a local Inter-Services Intelligence agent.
Ashiq Baba thereafter on return, received instructions on how and when to receive the group of terrorists.
Around a week prior to the attack, he and another arrested terrorist Muneer were given the GPS coordinates of the receiving point along the Samba sector highway as well as of the possible targets along the Nagrota army cantonment through WhatsApp from their handlers in Pakistan.
Ashiq went with Muneer (and later joined by Tariq) and finalised the receiving point and the target.
Officers mess complex of 166 Medium Regiment at Nagrota was chosen due to its convenient location towards the end of the Cantonment. After finalisation, the points were passed on WhatsApp to the JeM commanders in Pakistan.
They then received a group of three attackers a day before the attack (Nov 28, 2016 early in the morning) at the decided location.
The terrorists changed their clothes near the highway after they were received by Ashiq, Muneer and Tariq.
Thereafter, the group travelled in two vehicles to Jammu after keeping their weapons concealed in the dickey of one of the two cars owned by Tariq and Ashiq.
They parked the car having the weapons at a paid parking slot and then stayed at a hotel in Jammu. On the same day, Ashiq took the commander among the attackers Abu Hisham to Nagrota to show him the site of the attack and came back to the hotel.
Later in the night, these Indian terrorists left for the attack site along with the Pakistani attackers, dropped them near the attack site and left for Srinagar.
Ashiq and Muneer again received a group of three terrorists in March 2017 from the Samba sector and dropped them at Khrew, near Pampore.
This time the terrorists were received by Noor Trali (JeM commander who was subsequently killed in an encounter)
Ashiq then went to Pakistan in April/May 2017 and met Waseem, Abu Talha and Mufti Ashghar.
He also met Maulana Rauf (brother of Maulana Masood Azhar and accused in the Pathankot attack case) at their headquarters at Bahawalpur.
He was showered praises by the JeM leadership and promised with a lot of financial rewards and was told to receive more attackers in future.
Muneer told Ashiq that the JeM leader wanted him to open an account with HDFC or ICICI bank to receive funds as reward.
Ashiq already had an HDFC account which he provided to the JeM commanders on WhatsApp. They then transferred hefty amounts into his account.
Ashiq says the amount came from Gulf countries. Interrogation of the terrorists will be continued.