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NIA Identifies Vehicle Used in Pulwama Attack, Says Owner Bought Car 10 Days Ahead of Terror Strike

The owner has reportedly now joined Jaish-e-Mohammad and a photograph to this effect has appeared in the social media, an NIA spokesperson said.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:February 25, 2019, 10:50 PM IST
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NIA Identifies Vehicle Used in Pulwama Attack, Says Owner Bought Car 10 Days Ahead of Terror Strike
File photo of Sajjad Bhatt.

New Delhi: In a major breakthrough in the Pulwama attack case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified the owner of the Maruti Eco car that was used to attack a CRPF convoy killing at least 40 jawans on February 14.

The NIA, in a statement, said the owner of the car was Sajjad Bhatt, son of Md Maqbool Bhat, resident of Bijbehara district in Anantnag. The NIA said Bhatt had acquired the vehicle on February 4 — 10 days before the attack.

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

As per the NIA investigation, the IED-laden car originally belonged to Md Jaleel Ahmed Haqani a resident of Heaven Colony, Anantnag. The NIA said the vehicle was bought by Haqani in 2011. "It subsequently changed hands seven times and finally reached Sajjad," the NIA statement said.

The agency identified the vehicle after recovering a metal plate from Lethpora. The metal plate revealed the chassis and engine numbers of the vehicle which led the NIA team to the vehicle's owner.

The agency believed that about 15-20 kg RDX was packed in a jerrycan and placed in the car. Parts of the jerrycan have also been recovered by forensic teams who have visited the scene of the attack.

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