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Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad's chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Twitter

Pakistan based terrorist organisation, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) had formed the new militant outfit Lashkar-e-Mustafa in August-September 2020 to "evade international pressure" in the wake of the 2019 Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy and appointed Hidayat Ullah Malik aka Hasnain as its chief for India. He was regularly in "touch" with the commanders of the JeM through his "Pakistani mobile numbers", including wanted terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar's brother Mufti (Abdul) Rouf (Asghar).

The revelations have been made in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against six terrorists of LeM, including Malik on August 4 before a Special NIA court in Jammu.

The NIA in its chargesheet, which has been viewed by IANS, claimed: "After forming the LeM, Malik aka Hasnain was further directed by commanders of the JeM that he has to commit terrorist activities in the (erstwhile) state of Jammu and Kashmir including in the Jammu region.

"During the period, Malik was regularly in touch with Abu Talha aka Doctor through Pakistani mobile number (92309 10XXX) and Mufti Rouf (+92336648XXXX) brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM and Ashaq Ahmed Nengroo (+92355809XXXX and +92355141XXXX) through WhatsApp."

Azhar, his brothers and Nengroo were earlier also been named by the NIA in the Pulwama terror attack case chargesheet in August 2020.

The NIA further claimed that Malik used to inform them about the progress of the newly formed LeM.

"He was also in touch with some other Pakistan based handlers of JeM," the NIA said.

The NIA added that the LeM was formed in August-September 2020 by Malik in continuation of the conspiracy hatched by the top level commanders of the JeM to form a new terrorist organisation which will serve as an offshoot of JeM.

It said that it was done to "evade scrutiny" and "close the international pressure on JeM", post the attack on a CRPF convoy at Lethpora in Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

The NIA said that after the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed, the proscribed terrorist organisation JeM had come on the radar of the international community.

The NIA said: "After formation of this new organisation (LeM), Malik was declared as the chief of the LeM and he had also been advised by JeM to manage funds at his own level and to recruit local Kashmiri youths in this new terror outfit."

An NIA spokesperson on August 4 had said that during the probe, it was revealed that the accused persons led by Malik had also committed a daylight bank robbery of Rs 60 lakh at J&K Bank's Main Branch in Shopian in November 2020.

"The looted money was used by terrorists of LeM for procuring weapons from Kashmir and Bihar," the official had said.

"Malik had also done reconnaissance of many security installations in Jammu and Delhi and was in constant touch with his handlers of JeM in Pakistan," the official added.

The NIA had registered a case on February 6 this year in connection with the conspiracy hatched by LeM and its chief, Malik, who recced the office of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, working at the behest of Pakistan-based proscribed terrorist organisation JeM, to carry out terrorist activities in Jammu in March this year.

In July last week this year, the NIA had arrested two LeM terrorists, Mohammaf Arman Ali aka Arman Mansuri, and Mohammad Ehsanullah aka Guddu Ansari, both residents of Bihar's Saran district. The duo was involved in transportation of two separate consignments of illegal arms and ammunition from Bihar to Mohali and Ambala.

Besides Malik, the anti-terror probe agency has named Baseerat-ul-Ain and Mudabir Manzoor, both residents of J&K's Shopian, Jan Mohammad Teeli, a resident of J&K's Anantnag, Mustaq Alam, a resident of Bihar's Chapra, and his brother Jawed Alam.

The NIA had taken over the probe on March 2.

The NIA had also arrested Irfan Ahmed Dar, a resident of Anantnag on July 31. The NIA officials said that Dar provided logistic support and also arranged arms and ammunition for LeM terrorists in J&K.


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