Srinagar: A red Eeco car, eyewitness accounts and a boy who could have become a fidayeen car bomber hold the key to investigate the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.
Sources told CNN-News18 that the jawans travelling in bus numbers 4 and 2 had seen bomber Adil Dar drive a red car near the convoy minutes before he rammed bus number 3, reducing it to a mangled heap of blood, flesh and metal.
"He swerved left and right for at least two minutes while the escorts in bus 3 repeatedly told him to get away from the convoy," an eyewitness told investigators.
CRPF jawans travelling in the other buses have told investigators that the red Eeco car started tailing the convoy from Jammu. "His attempts to hit the convoy started with the last bus. He succeeded with bus number 3, which also killed the ASI who was part of the road opening party," a CRPF official told News18.
The eyewitness account tallies with the forensic and NIA teams finding the bumper of an Eeco car in the rubble. "We were not sure if the bumper was from the attack vehicle since it is a dispensable part of any car, so someone else could have also thrown it. But the eyewitness account tallies,” a police officer said.
Investigators are trying to ascertain where and how Adil Dar got the explosives from. To answer this question, they are questioning a youth, named Arju Bashir, who is around the same age as Dar.
Bashir had in 2017 approached the police, saying Jaish-e-Mohammad had asked him to ram an army convoy using a vehicle. "If there are any links between Jaish operatives who approached Bashir and those who provided explosives to Dar, then he can prove to be a useful link," an officer said.
Mufti Abdullah, a Jaish terrorist who was killed on January 26 this year, also figures in the investigation.
Sources said Abdullah, who was killed in Khunmu on the outskirts of Srinagar, was an expert in making IEDs. Remnants of several IEDs were found at his premises after the encounter in which he was killed.
"We are trying to ascertain if the explosives used in Pulwama are similar to those recovered from Abullah’s premises," an official told News18. The forensic report is awaited to know the exact make of the IED.