NIA Files Chargesheet in Pathankot Attack Case Against JeM Chief

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, along with 3 other operatives and the dead attackers, named as accused.

2 min read
Armed forces during the counter-terror operation at Pathankot.  (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed formal charges in the Pathankot airbase attack in a special court in Mohali.

The chargesheet names Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, his brother and deputy chief Rauf Asghar, two handlers Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif, along with four dead attackers as the accused.

They have been charged for commission of offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, section 25, 27 of the Arms Act, 1959, Sections 3(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and section 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) for the arrest of Masood Azhar, Rauf Asghar, and Shahid Latif , while an RCN against Kashif Jan is in process.

It is being seen in a larger context by the NIA as a diplomatic attempt to put Azhar and the terror outfit on the list of banned terror groups by the United Nations.

NIA had reached out to Pakistan seeking its assistance in the probe twice earlier this year, but has received no reply so far. A call was then taken to go ahead with the chargesheet with or without Pakistan’s cooperation.

FBI, US Dept of Justice Officials Named Witnesses

NIA has submitted a statement of six witnesses in a sealed cover before the court and pleaded 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.

Detailed Sequence of Events Exposed in Chargesheet

The terrorists, after entering India through the Bamiyal area of Gurudaspur, had carried out the strike inside the strategic Pathankot Indian Air Force base, killing eight people – including seven personnel of IAF and NSG. There was however, controversy over the exact number of people involved in the attack.

The NIA chargesheet filed on Monday narrates the sequence of events leading up to the attack.

“In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, the accused persons, their leaders/handlers and co-conspirators including but not limited to Maulana Masood Azhar, Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif, set up training camps in Pakistan and the PoK area, for recruitment and training of terrorists, in order to carry out terror attacks on Indian soil”.

It then goes on to detail how four terrorists, namely Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq, and Abdul Qayum – all belonging to JeM – with sophisticated arms, ammunition and other logistical items, came across from Pakistan on 30 December 2015. “They illegally crossed the Indo-Pak international border through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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