Car used in Pulwama convoy attack sold just 10 days before bombing, owner missing

Published: February 26, 2019 12:27:51 AM

NIA investigators identified the vehicle used for the blast with the support of forensic and automobile experts.

The attacker is believed to have driven the car from a side lane in Lethpora.

By Rahul Tripathi

CLAIMING A major breakthrough in the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified the owner of the vehicle that was used by the attacker who has been claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed to be its recruit Adil Ahmed Dar.

The NIA said on Monday that the Maruti Eeco car was last sold on February 4, just 10 days before the attack, to Sajjad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in Anantnag, who is now absconding and is suspected to have joined Jaish.

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“Sajjad is a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom, Shopian. A raid was conducted by NIA team at his house with the help of J&K Police on 23rd February. However, Sajjad was found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest since then. He has reportedly now joined JeM. A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where Sajjad is seen holding weapons,” an NIA statement said.

NIA investigators identified the vehicle used for the blast with the support of forensic and automobile experts.

According to the agency, the vehicle — chassis MA3ERLF1SOO183735 and engine G12BN164140 — was sold to Mohammed Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Heaven colony in Anantnag, in 2011. It changed hands seven times and before reaching Sajjad, it said.

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The Indian Express reported on February 16 that the attacker detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) inside the red-coloured car after manoeuvring it close to the fifth bus in the CRPF convoy that was moving on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The attacker is believed to have driven the car from a side lane in Lethpora.

Sources said investigators picked up a few pieces of a jerrycan from the attack site, which they suspect was used to carry the explosives. From its remains, investigators estimate the can was not more than 20-25 litres in size and could not have held more than 30 kg of RDX, the explosive suspected to have been used in the attack.

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