Majid Kapra

LeT militants involved in Shujaat Bukhari’s killing: Police

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‘Conspiracy to murder him hatched in Pak’

Srinagar, Jun 28: Blaming the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari on Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT), police today said the conspiracy to kill him was hatched by the militant outfit in Pakistan and three of its cadres including Naveed Jatt who has escaped from SMHS Hospital, carried out the killing.

Addressing a press conference at the Police Control Room (PCR) here, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir S P Pani said while a Srinagar resident based in Pakistan had started an online campaign against the slain journalist, three Lashkar militants — Jatt, Muzaffar Ahmad and Azad Malik carried out the killing.

The provincial police chief identified the accused involved in Bukhari’s murder case as Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat, alias Talha, son of Mohammad Amin Bhat of Sopat Tengpora Kulgam; Azad Ahmad Malik, alias Azad Dada, alias Zaid, son of Nazir Ahmad Malik of Mohalla Arwani Bejbihara Anantnag; and Naveed Jatt alias Hunzalla, and Sajjad Gul, son of Ghulam Mohammad of HMT Srinagar.

The pictures of the accused, who according to Pani, are “important operatives of LeT” were also released during the presser.

“There were rumours about the accused persons in the public domain after the incident.  There were pictures of the three suspects that were released,” Pani said.

SP Pani said the conspiracy to kill Bukhari was hatched in Pakistan by a Kashmiri Sheikh Sajjad Gul and was executed by three LeT militants.

“Now we have got evidence to confirm the identity of these three individuals as Azad Malik, Muzaffar Ahmad (both residents of south Kashmir) and Naveed Jatt. These three are now wanted by law,” he said.

Identifying the fourth accused as Shiekh Sajad Gul, who fled India on a passport, Pani said the investigation team will follow the due course of law to bring them to  book.

There was a series of social media campaign in which online platforms were used which were intimidating at times, he said, adding five to six posts came.

Gul, according to Pani crossed over to Pakistan five years ago on a fraudulently obtained passport, is a key conspirator behind the assassination of Bukhari. He is now based in Pakistan.

“Investigation so far conducted has disclosed that the person associated with publishing malicious articles on is Skeikh Sajjad Gul @Ahmad Khalid, resident of Srinagar who is associated with LeT,” he said.

” The investigation has revealed and we have tangible evidence that these were done from Pakistan,” Pani said.

“The location provided by the service providers show that these belong to Pakistan and they are part of the LeT conspiracy,” he added.

Pani said Gul had earlier been arrested by Delhi police in 2003 and later by Srinagar police in 2016 “for other terror-related cases but managed to fraudulently obtain a passport and flee the country last year.”

He said the investigation has so far established that this “terror crime” was committed by “proscribed terror organisation LeT. The conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and execution was done by the three accused”.

“Henceforth, we will approach the competent court and obtain non-bailable warrant against the accused. Also, we will take all measures like look out notice and in case of need Interpol red (corner) notice because one of the accused is in Pakistan. He left our country,” he added.

Pani said this was an important case and  the investigators are going to focus on all the evidence they have.

“There will also be a situation where transfer of evidence has to be done through the mutual legal assistance treaty,” he said.

Asked about the involvement of another suspect Zubair Qayoom  who was arrested two days after the 14 June incident, the IGP said at this stage his role is also being investigated.

“Two things are there — the pistol was recovered from him that he had taken from the scene of crime, two mobile phones were recovered from his possession, and he had tried to conceal his clothes and other things,” he added. (With PTI inputs)

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