CHANDIGARH/ NEW DELHI: NIA today secured non-bailable arrest warrants against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf and two others for allegedly conspiring to carry out terror strike on the strategic Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.
A special NIA court based 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 a terror strike on the IAF base.
The strategic base was attacked by terrorists of banned JeM during the intervening night of January one and two in which seven security personnel were killed. Four bodies of terrorists were recovered from the encounter site which lasted for nearly 80 hours.
The special court issued the arrest warrant after weighing the evidence presented by NIA before it which included telephonic conversation between the terrorists and the Jaish handlers like Jaan and Latif. The video of Rauf, brother of Azhar, was also presented before the court. In the video which was uploaded on a website being hosted from Pakistan, Rauf had claimed responsibility for the attack and complimented his boys for it. The video has since been removed and the website has also gone off the cyber world.
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 probe. 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 Jammu and Kashmir state assembly. Similarly an Interpol Red Corner Notice is 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, NIA said that after posting the pictures of the four dead terrorists on its official website, more information was coming from across the world which included many people from Pakistan who were eager to share details pertaining to the slain militants.
The four terrorists were identified as Nasir Hussain (Punjab province), Abu Bakar, (Gujranwala), Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum (both from Sindh).