In a major breakthrough in Pulwama terror attack, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday identified the Maruti Eeco minivan used by suicide bomber Adil Dar that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel, India Today has reported.
"Piecing together remnants of the vehicle used by the suicide bomber in the Pulwama terror attack on CRPF convoy, from the scene of incident, NIA investigators, with the support of forensic and automobile experts have been able to identify the vehicle used for the blast," NIA said.
According to an NIA spokesman, the vehicle was bought by a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative, identified as Sajjad Bhat, just 10 days before the February 14 strike.
Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in south Kashmir, has since been on the run and is believed to have joined terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed behind the fidayeen attack on the CRPF convoy.
The NIA spokesman termed this as a 'significant breakthrough' in the investigation into the terror attack.
A Maruti Ecco vehicle having Chassis number MA3ERLF1SOO183735 and Engine G12BN164140 was sold to Mohammed Jaleel Ahmed Haqani a resident of Heaven colony, Anantnag in the year 2011, according to NIA.
Since then, the car has exchanged hands seven times and finally reached Sajjad Bhat, a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom, Shopain, who had purchased the vehicle on February 4.
"A raid was conducted by NIA team at his house with the help of J&K Police on 23rd February. However, Sajjad found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest."
The JeM also released a picture of Sajad showing him with weapons announcing him as a member of the fidayeen.
The NIA, which took over the probe from the Jammu and Kashmir Police on February 20, has already gathered crucial material from the blast site in Lethpora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir and has been involved in the questioning of around a dozen people detained by the police following the blast, officials said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police had registered a case at the Awantipora police station on February 14 after the suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, which was part of a 78-vehicle convoy carrying over 2,500 personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.
(with inputs from PTI)
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar