The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said it had tracked down the owner of the car used by the suspected Jaish-e Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber in the February 14 attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama. Forty jawans were killed and five injured in the attack.
The owner of the vehicle has since joined the terror outfit, the agency said.
Terming it a “significant breakthrough in the investigation,” an NIA spokesperson said they were able to piece together parts of the vehicle. “With the support of forensic and automobile experts, the NIA has been able to recognise the vehicle used for the blast,” the spokesman said.
Resold seven times
The NIA said the Maruti Suzuki Eeco vehicle, with chassis number MA3ERLF1S- OO183735 and engine number G12BN164140, was traded to Muhammad Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Heaven Colony, Anantnag, in 2011. It certainly changed hands seven times. The last person to hold it was Sajjad Bhat, son of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara, Anantnag. Bhat is a student of the Siraj-ul-Uloom in Shopian. “Bhat acquired the vehicle on February 4, 2019.”
Bhat’s house was attacked by an NIA team and the police on February 23. “However, Sajjad was not found and has been evading arrest since then. He has reportedly now joined the JeM,” said the NIA.
A picture of Bhat carrying a pistol and a gun has also appeared on social media. The unconfirmed picture describes him as Hafiz Sajad Bhat alias Afzal Guru. The picture also alleged that Bhat is part of a JeM fidayeen (suicide) squad. The JeM had begun a ‘Afzal Guru Squad’ in 2014, which conducted out attacks on Army bases in Uri, Pathankot and Nagrota.