A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the Jammu airport blast case, senior officers reached ground zero for an assessment of the crime scene. Though Superintendent rank NIA officers have been at the site of the explosion from day 1, officially, the agency has begun probe only now. Senior officers from Delhi including those from IG and DIG ranks reached Jammu today; DG NIA is also expected to visit shortly.
The chiefs of the counter-terror force NSG and the civil airports guarding Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had on Wednesday inspected the scene of the terror attack at the Air Force station in Jammu. National Security Guard (NSG) director-general M A Ganapathy and CISF acting DG S K Saxena visited the Jammu airport where the Indian Air Force (IAF) stated is located and conducted a recce of the blast site. They met officials from multiple agencies to coordinate perimeter security of the Jammu airport. The NSG has deployed anti-drone units at Jammu and nearby airbases.
What the crime scene reveals
Investigating officials said that so far there are no leads to ascertain the identity of the conspirators. “This is going to be a long, painstaking probe," an official said.
Officials said initially the possibility of mortar being used to blast the building near the MI17 helicopter hangars was considered but a thorough search of the building pointed towards the use of a drone. “The roof was torn apart and the explosives came at a 90-degree angle. The saria (iron rods used in cosntruction) was fully bent and the table kept directly below the roof was blown apart. That made it clear that the explosives saw a straight 90-degree drop. Only a bomb dropped straight from the top could have this trajectory," an official told News18.
Another officer added that even though the theory of a drone being operated from inside Indian territory is still being considered, the possibility of this is remote. But as part of the investigation, the mobile tower data dump and internet activities are being analysed. “Mobile and internet activities in the area are being scanned but this is a long process. It will take time," the officer said.
The IAF personnel who were on patrolling duty on the night of the explosion have given their statement to the police and NIA but no significant lead has emerged. “A person on duty in his statement said he heard a whirring sound but the explosion happened before he could react," a source told news18.
The forensic report on the IED is still awaited but investigators suspect it was made by experts. “The IED used was very sophisticated, not the kind that anybody can put together. It almost looks like the work of an ordnance factory," an officer told News18.
NIA suspects the Pakistani army and ISI could have aided Lashkar-e-Toiba in carrying out the operation. But officers said that in the absence of any direct lead from the ground, it is too early to take names.