A suspected suicide bomber, who made an abortive attempt to target a Central Reserve Police Force convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway two days ago, was arrested near the Jawahar Tunnel on Monday, police said.
Owais Amin Rather, a resident of Wail village of Shopian district, was arrested by a joint search party of police and the Army while he was trying to flee towards the Valley aboard a passenger vehicle, Sajad Sarwar, sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Banihal told PTI.
A CRPF vehicle had suffered slight damage when a Santro car went up in flames after an explosion at Tethar village, 7 kms from Banihal, shortly after a Jammu-bound convoy crossed the Jawahar Tunnel on Saturday.
The driver of the private vehicle managed to flee before the fire engulfed the vehicle and turned it into a mangled heap of iron.
The officer said Rather was booked under various sections of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), including 307 (attempt to murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121) and 124 (sedition), besides under the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities Act.
"He was produced before the Judicial Magistrate (first class) Banihal Monday and sent to eight days police remand," Sarwar said.
The officer said he was identified from the description gathered during investigation, including CCTV footage and the bruises which he had suffered on his face and other body parts while jumping out of the vehicle.
Sarwar said the accused confessed to his involvement in the crime.
"The accused crossed the Jawahar Tunnel into this side in pursuit of the target after failing in his attempt in the Valley and finally tried to blow up the vehicle on this side," the Deputy Superintendent-rank level officer said.
An inspection of the charred vehicle and surrounding areas had led to the recovery of an LPG cylinder, jerrycan filled with petrol, gelatin stick, urea and sulphur -- material which is used for fabricating improvised explosive devices (IEDs), police said.
A letter recovered from the scene had identified the driver as Hizbul Mujahideen operative Owais Amin, who mentioned his intention to carry out a February 14 Pulwama type terror attack.
The attack had left 41 CRPF personnel dead after a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist drove an explosive-laden vehicle and targeted the security personnel.
Forensic experts and a team of the National Investigation Agency visited Banihal on the same day of the incident and inspected the scene.
JeM terrorist arrested from Srinagar
A Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell from Srinagar, officials said on Monday.
Faiyaz Ahmad Lone, a resident of Kupwara, had been evading arrest since 2015 and was carrying a reward of Rs 2 lakh, they said.
The Delhi Police had earlier in February 4, 2007, arrested four alleged terrorists of JeM after a brief encounter at Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg in Delhi.
They were identified as Shahid Gafoor, resident of Pakistan, Bashir Ahmed Ponnu, Fayaz Ahmed Lone and Abdul Majeed Baba, residents of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police officer said.
Three kilograms of explosive, four non-electric detonators, one timer, six hand grenades, one pistol, one magazine with two live cartridges, Rs 50,000 and fake 10,000 US dollars were recovered from their possession.
During interrogation, it was revealed that they were active members of JeM and had hatched a plan for a big attack in Delhi on the directions of their mentors based in Pakistan, police said.
Gafoor also revealed that he had illegally crossed the LoC twice in 1998 and in 2002.
On both the occasions, he was launched into India along with other Pakistan terrorists through forward Kota, Pakistan–Poonch India sector.
He remained in Jammu and Kashmir and carried out attack on the camp of Rashtriya Rifles, police said.
During the trial on August 7, 2013, Gafoor was convicted while Ponnu, Lone and Baba were acquitted.
However, they were later convicted by the Delhi High Court but they did not appear before the court and were evading their arrest sine then.
Thereafter, non-bailable warrants were issued against them several times since 2014, they said, adding they were convicted for their involvement in anti-national and terrorist activities.
Later, a reward of Rs 2 lakh was declared on the arrest of each of the absconding accused persons, police said.
According to Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), a team of Delhi Police was sent to J&K to trace Ponnu, Lone and Baba.
They arrested Lone on March 25 from the area of Kothi Bagh in Srinagar and he was brought to Delhi.
Interrogation revealed that Lone started his own shop of electronic items in Kupwara in 2000.
Later, he wound up his business in 2004 and started shawl business at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, along with his uncle, Yadav said.
He came in contact with Altaf Ahmed Kirmani, a resident of Sopore, Baramulla, in 2005 who was a member of JeM, he said.
He lured Lone to become a member of JeM to earn easy money. Lone started working for the organisation and became an active member of JeM, the DCP added.