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NIA says close to solving case, finds ‘clear’ Pakistan link in Pulwama attack

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is close to cracking the Pulwama terror attack case, with evidence pointing to an elaborate operation by four or five Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants, including suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar and a local handler, according to people familiar with the developments.

The owner of the Maruti Eeco vehicle used in the February 14 attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy that killed 40 troopers has also been identified, said the people cited above. The vehicle was registered in Kashmir some eight years ago and was being used by the group with the knowledge of the owner, who has gone missing, they added.

NIA investigators, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pakistani footprint in the attack is clearly visible. The bomber’s vehicle was loaded with about 25 kilograms of RDX stored in a container. While it is still being investigated on how the JeM unit behind the attack managed to procure the RDX, investigators believe that the explosives knowhow came from across the border.

“We have the full details about the vehicle, which was sighted with the same group at least a couple of times,” said an NIA investigator.

The NIA has found that Dar was “active” with the JeM unit since he went missing last March. The group comprised largely of terrorists from across the border. Adil particularly disliked the CRPF after an alleged attempt by security forces to set Dar’s Kakapora house on fire in end May or June, 2018.

The investigators point to a JeM statement after the June 2, 2018 grenade attacks on the security forces at Fateh Kadal and Badshah Chowk in Srinagar as part of “Operation Badr”. At that time, local news agency GNS quoted a JeM spokesperson as saying that “government forces made a vain and shameful attempt of setting ablaze the house of one of our colleagues Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas of Kakapora Gundibagh, Pulwama, during the dead of night”. The spokesman, according to GNS, warned that every army camp in Jammu and Kashmir was a target, and would be burned.

Investigators believe that Dar may have been radicalised by his local Jaish handler after the alleged ransacking of his house, and prepared for the extreme step on instructions from across the border.

Although the NIA declined to reveal the identities of people involved in the attack at this stage, a senior official said that the full details of the case should be known over the next two weeks.

“We have pieces of evidence; the job of joining of dots to unravel the entire conspiracy is on. Someone brought the RDX from across the border, while another person rigged the device. The vehicle was perhaps repainted with someone doing the reconnaissance of the spot and selection of target. We have the full picture of the attack,” the senior official added.

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‘Second wave of coronavirus at its peak in Delhi,’ says Arvind Kejriwal, cites experts

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Delhi was witnessing the second wave of coronavirus and has now turned the corner, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

The sudden spike in case, crossing 4,000 which took place earlier this month was the second wave of the disease, he said.

CM’s remarks came while speaking at a programme in PUSA (Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University).

“On September 16, Delhi recorded approximately 4,500 cases. After that, the cases started to decline and in the last 24 hours, 3,700 cases have come up in the national capital. In the coming days, the numbers will decline further,” he said.

“From July 1 to August 17, cases were in control. So experts are believing that the second wave of coronavirus which had hit Delhi is now on peak and its intensity will be less in the coming days,” he contended.

With a fresh spike of 86,508 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India has crossed the 57 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health on Thursday.

India, which continues to remain the second-worst affected country’s total Covid-19 caseload now stands at 57,32,518 out of which 9,66,382 are active coronavirus cases which account for 16.85 per cent of all cases.

With 87,374 patients that have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the recoveries continue to remain more than the number of new coronavirus infections for the fifth consecutive day, according to data by Ministry of Health.

Delhi’s total coronavirus case load after daily spike of 3,714 cases now stands at 2,56,789 Covid-19 cases.

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Conspiracy grew right after 2019 parliamentary elections: Police in Delhi riots chargesheet

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In its chargesheet filed over the investigations in the Delhi violence, the Delhi Police said the conspiracy was plotted right after the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“From the day that the results of the 2019 Parliamentary elections were declared, the tone and tenor of the public utterances of the key conspirators of the present case have shown a clear streak of affinity towards violence which had started playing out in their minds,” it said.

Police have filed a 2,695-page “final report” in the chargesheet filed against 15 people under the stringent UAPA in a case of alleged conspiracy related to the February riots in Northeast Delhi.

The chargesheet filed by the police includes the names of former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, former DU student Gulfisha, Jamia Millia Islamia PhD student Meeran Haider and Jamia Coordination Committee media coordinator Safoora, among others.

“Internationally, terrorist activity is defined as the use of violence to force a government to accept/submit to political demands,” the final report, signed by DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwah and ACP (Special Cell) Alok Kumar said.

“The conspiracy grew in an organic manner from the formation of a group called MSJ, an overtly communal seed that was sown after CAB to the subsequent formation of JCC and finally the emergence of DPSG, which provided a secular facade and naxal genes of violent resistance to an otherwise radically communal agenda,” it said.

The report further said that conspirators, by their ingenuity and criminality of thoughts, presented an entirely new dimension to the meaning of ‘hate speech’. Theirs was covered in the sugarcoat of nationalism which hit the sour and sordid truth that it was in fact a well-thought out attempt at igniting and reinforcing a pan-Islamic identity.

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Freelance journalist, who also worked for China’s Global Times, arrested for spying in Delhi

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The Delhi Police on Saturday said that the freelance journalist, who was caught in the national capital of spying, was also providing sensitive information about India’s border strategy and army deployment to Chinese intelligence.

Police further claimed to have busted a major spying operation amid soaring tensions between the two countries.

The police told that a Chinese woman, Qing Shi, and a Nepalese man, Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra, have been booked along with Sharma under the Official Secrets Act.

“Freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma arrested under Official Secrets Act for passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. A Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies,” the Delhi Police said.

“Journalist Rajeev Sharma was involved in passing sensitive defence and strategic information to Chinese intelligence officers from 2016 to 2018. He used to meet them at several locations in different countries,” Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP, Special Cell Delhi Police told.

“His 2 associates-a Chinese woman and Nepalese man, have a company in Mahipalpur, from where they exported medicines to China. Money sent from China was given to agents here. As per probe, transactions of Rs 40-45 lakhs have taken place in last 1 year,” the officer told.

“Rajeev Sharma has almost 40 years of experience as a journalist. In additional to his experience as a journalist in several news firms in India, he has written articles for Chinese media agency Global Times as a freelance journalist,” he added.

“Huge numbers of mobile phones, laptops and other incriminating and sensitive material have been recovered,” the police said.

Sharma is a journalist accredited with the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

Yesterday, senior police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav had said. “He was found to be in possession of some classified defence-related documents. The investigation is in progress and further details will be shared in due course.”

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