Politics

NIA Files Pathankot Charge Sheet, Names JeM Chief Masood Azhar

The charge sheet will likely to be used by India in advocating its case for imposing sanctions against Azhar under the UN anti-terror law, officials said.

Maulana Masood Azhar, head of militant party Jaish-e-Mohammad and mastermind of the January Pathankot base attack. Credit: Reuters

Maulana Masood Azhar, head of militant party Jaish-e-Mohammad and mastermind of the January Pathankot base attack. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Wrapping up investigations in the January 2 Pathankot airbase attack case, the NIA on Monday filed a charge sheet against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother and two others for hatching the conspiracy of the January two audacious terror strike that left seven personnel dead and 37 others injured

The charge sheet was filed in the NIA court at Panchkula in which all four have been slapped with charges under the Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Besides Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar and two handlers – Shahid Latif and Kashif Jan – have been named in the exhaustive charge sheet. Interpol red corner notices have been issued against all expect Jan, the NIA said.

The charge sheet also puts to rest speculation about the number of terrorists involved in the attack as the agency gave details of only four militants. In the aftermath of the attack there was some confusion over the number of terrorists as defence minister Manohar Parrikar and home minister Rajnath Singh had said six terrorists had attacked the air force base.

The charge sheet also hinted at lax security at the base in Pathankot and said that the four terrorists – Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayoom – who were Pakistani nationals belonging to the JeM, had entered the premises at 0840 hours of January 1, and entrenched themselves in a drain and adjacent shed belonging to the military engineering services.

The terrorists were engaged in a gunfight only at 0320 hours of January 2, 19 hours after they had entered the base.

The charge sheet will likely to be used by India in advocating its case for imposing sanctions against Azhar, who had been released in 1999 in exchange for passengers on the hijacked Indian Airlines flight 814, under the UN anti-terror law, officials said.

In the aftermath of the attack, India had allowed a probe team from Islamabad to visit the Pathankot base. The Pakistani team were handed over all documents pertaining to the case and allowed to question everyone except security personnel involved in foiling the attempts of the terrorists. However, the Pakistani team later claimed that India neither shared much evidence nor allowed it to interrogate the security personnel involved in dealing with the attack.