The Centre has handed over investigations into the November 19 Nagrota attack case to National Investigation Agency (NIA). The premier counter terror agency has registered an FIR in the case after taking case papers from Jammu and Kashmir Police which was probing the case until now.
Sources said the case has been handed over to NIA as it has cross-border implications and a federal agency would be better suited in a case where the hand of Pakistan is prima facie evident.
The case concerns an encounter with four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists at Ban Toll Naka in Nagrota, Jammu last month. The terrorists had allegedly entered India from Pakistan using a tunnel on the Jammu border and were on their way to Kashmir in a truck when they were intercepted by security forces early on November 19. As the truck was being searched, the terrorists opened fire and in the ensuing three-hour encounter, all terrorists were killed while two security personnel were injured.
The police recovered 11 AK rifles from the slain terrorists apart from 24 magazines and 7.5 kg of RDX along with 20 m of IED wire and six detonators. The recoveries also included one UBGL, 29 grenades, five Rifle Grenades, three pistols with six magazines, a wireless set and a GPS. They indicated that the terrorists were planning a major attack in the Valley just ahead of the District Development Council Polls.
Underlining the significance of the development, PM Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting at the PMO the very next day with Home Minister Amit Shah, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla and top intelligence officials. Sources said the meeting discussed ways to put international pressure on Pakistan by presenting appropriate evidence in forums such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The international body has put Pakistan in Grey List, curtailing its access to international finances, for not acting against terror funding. The next meeting of FATF is slated to take place in February.
“NIA will be able to gather the kind of evidence that will be useful to corner Pakistan in the FATF. NIA is also a member of the delegation that represents India at the FATF meetings,” a home ministry official said.
Following his meeting with top officials, Modi had directly blamed Pakistan in a statement. “Our security forces have once again displayed utmost bravery and professionalism. Thanks to their alertness, they have defeated a nefarious plot to target grassroots level democratic exercises in Jammu and Kashmir …Neutralising of 4 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed and the presence of large cache of weapons and explosives with them indicates that their efforts to wreak major havoc and destruction have once again been thwarted,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
As reported by The Indian Express on November, 30, the attacks had tell-tale signs of Pakistan hand. Recoveries and initial investigations had found that the slain terrorists were in touch with their handlers in Pakistan through Digital Mobile Radio manufactured by Pakistani company Micro Electronics and smartphones manufactured by Q Mobile, another Pakistani company. They carried medicines manufactured by various Pakistani companies based in Karachi, Lahore and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also wore Pakistan-made shoes.
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