The Home Ministry on Tuesday transferred the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). An official order in this regard was received by the NIA at its headquarters on Tuesday evening. Sources said the agency would file an FIR in the matter on Wednesday.
A team of more than 10 NIA officers under an inspector general-rank officer had been camping in Kashmir since Friday. It was providing assistance to Jammu and Kashmir Police, which was probing the case.
Sources said the agency, along with the police, has been questioning suspects from Pulwama and Awantipora. On Tuesday, too, the sources said, the NIA team questioned some people from the two areas on suspicion of having provided logistical support to the attacker.
“These are the two areas in which Jaish-e-Mohammed has had maximum activity in the past few years. It is suspected that the car used for the attack was packed with explosives not far from the attack site. And it could not have happened without local help,” an officer said.
Identified as Adil Ahmed Dar by Jaish, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, the attacker had allegedly driven a Maruti Eeco car alongside the CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Lethpora and detonated it near the fifth bus in the convoy, killing 40 personnel.
As reported by The Indian Express on Tuesday, investigators have picked up shards of a jerrycan from the spot. It is suspected around 30 kg RDX was packed into this can, which is suspected to be of not more than 20-25 litres capacity.
Investigators have also picked up a metal piece with a number that looked like the chassis number of the car used in the attack. It, however, turned out to be a red herring since the car was traced in good condition and the owner was verified and cleared.
A car bumper has also been found, but none of the material has as yet led to any concrete lead, sources said.
Rajnath Singh reviews security situation
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the meeting, Rajnath was briefed about the prevailing security situation in J&K, including along the Indo-Pak border, an MHA official said. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also participated in the meeting which was attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajiv Jain, among others.