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Pak. involvement obvious in Pathankot attack, says NIA

The chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Monday that the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, including Masood Azhar, “could not have acted in isolation” while planning and executing the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase and that the “complicity of Pakistan” was obvious.

NIA director-general Sharad Kumar told The Hindu on Monday that it expected “full cooperation” from the neighbouring country after Pakistan’s Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) visited New Delhi and Pathankot to collect evidence regarding the attack from March 27- April 1.

He said that Pakistan’s JIT had “promised a reciprocal visit”, but “unfortunately that didn’t happen”.

The NIA on Monday filed a charge sheet in a Mohali court against the top leadership of the JeM regarding their involvement in the planning and conspiracy of the attack at the Pathankot airbase on January 2. The charge sheet is expected to bolster India’s chances to have Masood Azhar designated as an international terrorist in the UN forum.

Irrefutable evidence

The NIA director-general said, “We have irrefutable evidence against the JeM leadership including Masood Azhar and his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar. All the accused are based in Pakistan. The attack was carried out by the JeM but they cannot operate in isolation. The complicity of the state (Pakistan) becomes obvious then.”

Mr. Kumar also said that the most challenging part would be to commence the trial of the case as all the four main accused were in Pakistan while the four terrorists had been killed.

“We have sent letters rogatory to Pakistan seeking further evidence from them. Had we gone there, we could have collected additional evidence. We were promised a reciprocal visit but unfortunately that did not happen. The trial cannot commence till the accused are present here. We will try to get them extradited or deported,” said Mr. Kumar.

Probe continues

On being asked why the NIA has remained silent on the presence of two more terrorists at the airbase, while the bodies of only four terrorists had been recovered at the airbase, Mr. Kumar said, “We have mentioned in the charge-sheet that the charred remains recovered from the airmen billet has not established the identity of the terrorists, but it clearly mentions that the investigation continues in this direction.”

Mr. Kumar said that they had not charged Punjab police officer Salwinder Singh as no evidence was found against him.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2020 2:27:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Pak.-involvement-obvious-in-Pathankot-attack-says-NIA/article16907520.ece

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