The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has not filed a chargesheet in the Pulwama terror incident , nine months after the attack took place, as none of the key suspects are alive.
The two main suspects, Mudasir Ahmed Khan and Sajjad Bhat, were killed in an encounter with security forces in March and June respectively.
The third, Adil Ahmed Dar, was on a suicide mission. On February 14, Dar, a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) member rammed a vehicle into a CRPF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama in South Kashmir. All the 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in the bus were killed . JeM is a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit. A senior government official said that since the prime suspects were killed in various operations, the exact details of the attack were difficult to know.
“We know the broad contours of the case but in a chargesheet the role of each individual has to be spelt out. We have identified the suspects and will file an overall chargesheet in the incident regarding the role of Pakistan and Pakistan-based terror outfits in planning the attack,” said the official.
Another official said that after the Pathankot terror attack 2016, all the four terrorists who stormed the airbase were killed but after several months a chargesheet was filed against Jaish chief Masood Azhar and three others who are based in Pakistan.
Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act the investigation agency has 90 days to file a chargesheet in court but this can be extended if the suspects are dead or additional time is required.
In June, Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy had said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the Pulwama terror attack was not an “intelligence failure” and “the investigation by the NIA so far has resulted in identifying the conspirators, suicide attacker and the vehicle provider.”
Sajjad Bhat’s car was used in the Pulwama attack. It was first sold in 2011 and was then resold several times before Bhat purchased it on February 4, 10 days before the attack.
Mudasir Ahmed Khan, the other suspect killed in an encounter in March had arranged the explosives.
The NIA received the forensic report used in the attack but it is yet to trace the origin of the high-grade military explosives. Crucial evidence was washed away due to heavy rain at the site of the attack the next day.