Man who drove car, Pulwama bomber held

Ghughuti Bulletin

NEW DELHI: In a key breakthrough that will help reconstruct the conspiracy behind the
Pulwama terror attack, the
National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a
Jaish e Mohammad overground worker who not only fitted the IED in Maruti Eeco vehicle used for the attack but also drove it, with suicide bomber
Adil Ahmad Dar in the front seat, till 500 metres short of the attack site on February 14, 2019.

Shakir Bashir Magrey, a resident of Kakapora in Pulwama aged just 22, is the first living accused to be arrested in the case. While Adil had died during the suicide attack, other five identified accused were killed subsequently in separate operations by the security forces between March 11, 2019 and January 25, 2020.

The Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, which left 40 CRPF personnel martyred, was a turning point in India’s counter-terror journey as it led to the first ever cross-border airstrikes by Indian fighter jets on Jaish e Mohammad facilities deep inside Pakistan.

Magrey, owner of a furniture shop not too far from the Pulwama attack site, is an important catch as he will help piece together the events leading up to the suicide strike. His initial interrogation, an NIA officer told TOI, has revealed that he was with Adil Dar on the day of the attack. “This shows the level of trust the conspirators had in him,” said the officer.

As Adil was a shaky driver, it was Magrey who took the wheel of the explosives-laden Maruti Eeco car as they drove to the attack site. It was only 500 meters before the site that Magrey got off, given that only Adil had been chosen by Jaish for the suicide mission. Adil then drove himsef to the attack spot.

Magrey was key link in the Pulwama attack conspiracy. He had harboured Adil Dar and co-accused Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Umar Farooq in his house from late 2018 till the attack in February 2019 and helped them in preparation of the IED. As his shop is located near Lethpora bridge, he, as advised by Umar, conducted reconnaisance of the movement of CRPF convoy on Jammu-Srinagar highway in January 2019, and accordingly briefed Umar and Adil.

Magrey has revealed during his interrogation that ammonium powder, gloves and batteries for the IED used in Pulwama attack was bought from Amazon e-retail site. Ammonium powder has multiple applications, including in fertilisers.

Magrey was introduced to Adil in mid-2018 by Umar Farooq and he became a full-time OGW of JeM. He had collected and delivered arms, ammunition, cash and explosive material to
JeM terrorists, including those involved in Pulwama attack, on several occasions.

Magrey was involved in modifying the Maruti Eeco car and fitting the IED in it in early February 2019.

During investigation, the make, model and number of the car used in the attack was ascertained by NIA to be a Maruti Eeco car through forensic examination of its tiny remnants. This has now been corroborated by Magrey.

The explosives used in the attack were determined to be ammonium nitrate, nitro-glycerin and RDX through forensic investigation. Investigation also confirmed the identity of suicide bomber as Adil Ahmad Dar through DNA matching with that of his father. Other key terrorists involved in the attack were found to be Muddasir Ahmad Khan, (JeM’s Divisional Commander of South Kashmir killed in an operation by security forces on 11-03-2019) Pakistani terrorists viz. Muhammad Umar Farooq and IED expert Kamran, (both killed on 29-03-2019) the owner of the car viz. Sajjad Ahmad Bhat r/o Marhama, Anantnag (killed on 16-06-2019) and Qari Yassir, JeM’s Commander for Kashmir (killed on 25-01-2020). NIA believes RDX may have been brought in by Pakistani terrorists.

Magrey was produced before the NIA Special Court at Jammu on Friday and remanded to 15 days of NIA custody.

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