Decks cleared for Indian probe team’s visit to Pakistan

NEW DELHI: It is official now. A team of national investigation agency (NIA) officials will soon go to Pakistan to carry out probe into Pathankot terror attack on the basis of agreement of reciprocity reached between the two countries.

Pakistani authorities have given green signal to the request made by India. However, it is still not clear if the NIA team will be able to examine Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Mohammed Rauf Asghar and others whom India has blamed for planning and executing Pathankot attack.

“NIA presented the JIT with concrete evidence against the office bearers of JeM who conspired in the attack and the handlers of the terrorists who facilitated and guided them,” said NIA director general, Sharad Kumar briefing the media after JIT left for Pakistan on Friday.

“The Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) assured us of their full cooperation and promised to execute the LR (letter rogatory) which has been received by them,” said.

In a first-of-its-kind move, India virtually gave unhindered access to the Pakistani joint investigation team (JIT) during its five days of stay.

Not only was it provided all the material evidence linking the attack to the Jaish, the JIT was also taken to the highly secure Pathankot airbase to show the area of engagement and allowed to examine as many as 16 witnesses, including four police officials.

Besides, the JIT was also shown locations where the terrorists infiltrated and subsequently hid, as well as the spot where Ikagar Singh’s vehicle was snatched, where he was murdered, and where the terrorists hijacked the SUV Mahindra of SP Salwinder Singh. The route taken by the terrorists was also shown to the JIT.

“The JIT informed us that they were collecting admissible evidence outside Pakistan under the provision of Section 188 of the Cr PC of Pakistan, that will legally enable them to be used in prosecution,” added Kumar.

NIA has sought from JIT the voice samples of top JeM functionaries, and DNA sample of the mother of slain terrorist Nasir Hussain.

JIT was also requested to verify the various articles seized from the terrorists, including arms and ammunition, as mentioned in the Letter Rogatory sent earlier to Pakistan. The NIA has also shared with JIT the identity and the address of the 4 terrorists and requested the JIT confirm the same.