NIA court issues arrest warrant against Masood
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday secured non-bailable arrest warrants against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and two others for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror strike at the Pathankot airbase.
A special NIA court in Mohali issued the ‘open-ended non-bailable warrant’ against Azhar, his brother, main handlers Kashif Jaan and Shaid Latif for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy with JeM terrorists for carrying out the terror strike at the IAF base.
The strategic base was attacked by terrorists of banned JeM on the intervening night of January 1 and 2, in which seven security personnel were killed. Four bodies of terrorists were recovered from the encounter site, which lasted for nearly 80 hours. The court issued the arrest warrant after weighing the evidence presented by the NIA before it, which included telephonic conversation between the terrorists and the Jaish handlers Jaan and Latif.
Rauf’s video was also presented before the court. In the video, which was uploaded on a website being hosted from Pakistan, he had claimed responsibility for the attack and complimented his men for carrying it out. The video has since been removed and the website has also gone off the cyber world.
The NIA has already sought voice samples of Azhar and three others from Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which came to India for carrying out a probe in the Pathankot terror attack case.
The non-bailable warrant will be sent to Interpol. India had built a strong case for proscribing Azhar as terrorist at the UN, but the move was vetoed by China.
An Interpol Red Corner notice is already pending against Azhar for being allegedly involved in the conspiracy behind attacks on Parliament and J&K state Assembly.
An Interpol Red Corner Notice is also pending against Rauf in connection with the IC-814 hijacking case of 1999.
India has complained to Pakistan about the slow pace of probe in the Parliament attack case and Azhar being given a free hand to continue with his anti-India rhetoric. Islamabad has not heeded to India’s demands to bring to book Azhar and other JeM top brass.
In the meantime, the NIA said that after posting the pictures of the four dead terrorists on its official website, more information was coming from across the world.