Pulwama attack: NIA, forensics collect evidences

Soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. (Reuters Photo)

Two days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Awantipora, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team on Saturday visited the spot to initiate a probe.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the NIA team led by an inspector general (IG) level officer has started to scrutinise the 20-25 km stretch of area between Pampore and Pulwama on the highway, which is considered to be a militant hotbed.

 
“The NIA team with the help of Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) experts again visited the terror incident spot to collect evidence. They took photographs and videos and collected samples from the area for forensic examination,” they said.
 
“Though officially the probe has not been handed over to the NIA, according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) they visit the spots where terror attacks take place and collect samples,” sources revealed.
 
The premier probe agency is trying to determine why this 25-km stretch on the national highway has been used to target security forces in the Valley on multiple occasions. The Central probe agency is also tracking call records from mobile towers in the area. Internet call details and telegram messages are being searched from 48 hours prior to the February 14 suicide attack, they said.
 
Sources said a team from the National Bomb Data Centre (NBDC) of the National Security Guard also visited the area to throw light on the nature of the IED used in the attack. “Sources say that key Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists are stationed in this area. Two key masterminds of the February 14 Pulwama attack - Rashid Ghazi and Kamran - are said to have been hiding in this area.
 
Several suspects have been detained by the police in the last two days and they are expected to be questioned by the NIA in coming days. “Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists Rashid Ghazi and Kamran – believed to be the masterminds of Thursday’s deadly attack – are believed to be hiding in this stretch from Pampore to Awantipora,” sources added.
 
Earlier, the NIA investigated an attack on a Border Security Force convoy in Udhampur area of Jammu province in August 2015, September 18, 2016, Uri Army base attack in which 19 soldiers were killed and few other high-profile terror attacks in the state.
 
The NIA is a central agency established by the Centre government to combat terror in India. The premier probe agency is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

 

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Pulwama attack: NIA, forensics collect evidences

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