The NIA, which is probing the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, on Monday said that the Maruti Eeco used by the suicide bomber to ram the CRPF convoy was bought 10 days before the attack by a resident of Kashmir’s Anantnag district who has now reportedly joined.
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson said that details of the Maruti Eeco were obtained with the assistance of forensic and automobile experts after piecing together remnants of the vehicle used by suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar from the attack site.
At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers were killed in the worst attack on the security forces since the militancy erupted in the Kashmir valley in 1989. The Pakistan-based JeM had claimed responsibility.
A day after the attack, an NIA team with forensic and explosive experts had visited the attack site and collected material for investigation.
Even before the NIA took over the probe from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, NIA chief Y.C. Modi, accompanied by senior agency officials, had visited the attack site.
The NIA spokesperson said that the Maruti Eeco was sold over seven times since 2011 when it was first registered in the name of Mohammad Jaleel Ahmed Haqani, a resident of Anantnag. “But it was sold to Sajjd Bhat on February 4, just 10 days before the attack,” he said.
According to NIA officials, Bhat was a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom in Shopian.
An official said that a raid was conducted on his house by an NIA team with the help of state police on February 23. “However, he was not found at his house and thereafter has been evading arrest,” he said, adding that Bhat has reportedly joined the JeM now.
“A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where Bhat is seen holding weapons,” the official added.