Culminating its probe into a fatal terror attack that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead in South Kashmir last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet in Jammu on Tuesday against 19 people including Masood Azhar, the chief of banned terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, for planning the suicide operation.
Giving details of the chargesheet, NIA spokesperson Sonia Narang, who is also serving as deputy inspector general in the agency, said the chargesheet marks the culmination of a year-and-a-half long 'painstaking and meticulous' investigation with valuable inputs received from other central and state government agencies as well as foreign law-enforcement agencies.
"A lot of digital, forensic, documentary and oral evidence establishing a fool-proof case against the accused for this dastardly and barbaric attack has been collected.
"The charge sheet has brought on record the all-out involvement of Pakistan-based entities to carry out terrorist strikes in India and to incite and provoke Kashmiri youth," she said.
The 13,500-page chargesheet names Masood Azhar, his brothers Abdul Rauf and Ammar Alvi, and his nephew Mohammed Umer Farooq who had infiltrated into India in April 2018 and was subsequently killed in one of the encounters in South Kashmir.
Besides Azhar's brothers, the NIA named Sameer Dar and Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo, both residents of Pulwama in South Kashmir, and Mohd Ismail, a Pakistani national, as absconders in its chargesheet and secured non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against all six from the special court in Jammu.
"NBWs have been issued against the absconding accused and further investigation in the case is continued," Narang said.
Leading the investigation into the 'blind case', as seven accused wanted in it were killed in different encounters in 2019, a team led by joint director of NIA Anil Shukla gathered evidences and statements of terrorists and their sympathisers arrested in different cases in order to expose the conspiracy hatched for executing the audacious attack on the para-military convoy, officials said.
According to the chargesheet, the suicide attack was the result of a well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based leadership of terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Terming Masood Azhar's nephew as the main conspirator, the NIA said Farooq visited Afghanistan for explosives training in 2016-17 and infiltrated into India through the International Border at Jammu-Samba Sector in April, 2018.
He took over as JeM Commander of Pulwama.
Farooq along with his Pakistani compatriots Mohd. Kamran, Mohd. Ismail alias Saifullah and Qari Yasir and local associates Sameer Dar and Adil Ahmad Dar planned and prepared for the attack on security forces using IEDs.
The other accused -- Shakir Bashir, Insha Jan, Peer Tariq Ahmad Shah and Bilal Ahmad Kuchey -- provided all logistics and harboured the JeM terrorists in their houses.
From December, 2018 onwards, Bashir started doing reconnaissance of the movement and deployment of security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway while another accused Mudasir Ahmad Khan started arranging Gelatin sticks and handed them over to him.
RDX was brought by the Pakistani terrorists who infiltrated into India.
Bashir collected the explosive material like Aluminium powder and Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate and stocked them at his house for making the IED.
In January last year, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat purchased a Maruti EECO car, for the purpose of carrying out the IED attack, which was kept in the front-yard of Bashir's house.
This case also brings to light the use of e-commerce platforms by the planners in the terror module for purchase of high-end batteries, phones and some chemicals.
The chargesheet said Waiz-Ul-Islam, arrested from Srinagar, ordered 4 kg of Aluminium powder from his Amazon account on the directions of accused Mohd. Ismail and gave the same to him.
The video clip of the suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar was finished by January end last year as the terrorists were planning to carry out the attack on security forces in the first week of February but had to shelve it following closure of the national highway due to snow.
The vehicle was fitted with two IED containers -- 160 kg and 40 kg -- comprising an explosive cocktail of RDX, Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate, Gelatin Sticks and Aluminium powder.
On resumption of traffic, Shakir Bashir drove Dar till the National Highway, after which the suicide bomber took charge of the vehicle and drove on, carrying out the suicide attack by ramming the car laden with 200 kg of high-grade explosives into a bus of the CRPF convoy, 'resulting in 40 CRPF personnel getting martyred and damage to the tune of Rs.32,90,719 to public property'.
The investigation has revealed that the Pakistan-based JeM leadership consisting of Masood Azhar, Rouf Asgar and Ammar Alvi were continuously giving directions and guidance to the Pakistani JeM terrorists who had infiltrated into India both before and after the attack.
They had also planned to carry out another suicide attack which got averted due to Balakot strikes and due to the killing of the main conspirator Mohd Umar Farooq by the security forces. Further, due to international pressure, Pakistan lied low, the probe agency said.
The probe also showed 'a well-crafted mechanism by Pakistani establishment to push terrorists into the Indian territory from the launch pads located in Shakargarh (Pakistan) opposite Samba-Kathua Sector in Jammu'.