The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) helped Indian security agencies in establishing Pakistan-based terror group-Jaish-e-Mohammad’s role in the Pulwama terror attack .
The FBI tracked the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the device from which the video of local suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, released on WhatsApp minutes after the terror attack to several local media channels in Kashmir Valley, was uploaded.
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The IP address was traced to a camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. The video was released by one Mohd Hussain, who introduced himself as a Jaish spokesperson. The phone number from which the WhatsApp message was sent was registered in the name of a fictitious woman in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said, adding that, in the video, Dar, sitting in the backdrop of a black and white flag says that “by the time the video is released, he would be in heaven”.
A battered Samsung phone lying at a police station in South Kashmir was also a key to cracking the 2019 Pulwama terror attack case, said the NIA.
The NIA said that from the phone it recovered an audio note was sent by Jaish chief Masood Azhar to motivate the suicide bomber.
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Dar had on February 14 last year rammed a car laden with 200 kilograms of explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF0 bus killing 40 personnel at Pulwama on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
In the voice note, the Jaish chief mentioned that because of the mujahideens (fighters), the U.S troops were withdrawing from Afghanistan and reminisced how the group defeated the Soviet Union in the past.
A senior government official said there are no direct calls or chats from Azhar to the members of the group.
Earlier this year, Pakistan had claimed before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that the UN designated terrorist and his family were “missing”.
The findings are part of a 13,500 page charge-sheet filed by the NIA in a Jammu court on Tuesday against 19 accused, including Azhar.
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The damaged phone recovered from an encounter site on March 29, 2019, where the main planner Mohammad Umar Farooq (24) was killed, was kept at the Nowgam police station till November last year.
Farooq was a nephew of Masood Azhar. His father Ibrahim Ather is one of the main accused in the IC-814 Kandahar hijacking case of 1999 and looks after a joint training camp of Al Qaeda-Jaish in Afghanistan. It was at one of these camps that Farooq received training in assembling bombs and exploding buildings in 2016. In April 2018, he infiltrated into India through a tunnel from the Jammu-Pakistan border with weapons and around 12 kilograms RDX.
After groping in the dark for months, the NIA decided to scan all the cases related to Jaish terrorists. While scanning one such case, it came across the phone.
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All data and images in the phone, which had double layered encryption had been deleted, a senior government official said.
The NIA requested the local police to send the device to Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) in Delhi for forensic analysis.
CERT-IN recovered the images and chats from the phone, which included pictures of the bomb on a weighing scale, the suicide bomber’s preparatory videos, and audio notes sent by Jaish chief Masood Azhar.
On February 5, 2019, when the Jaish members, including Rauf Asghar and Ammar Alvi, were addressing a rally in Pakistan on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day, Umar Farooq sent them pictures of the two bombs.