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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday (Feb 25) said it has identified the Maruti Eeco car used in the deadly terror attack on February 14 in Pulwama which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers.

The vehicle owner Sajaad Bhat is a resident of Bijbehera in J&K’s district Annatnag who was directly involved in the attack and has been absconding.

The NIA investigators with the support of forensic and automobile expert has been able to identify the vehicle used in the blast as a Maruti Eeco having chassis number MA3ERLF1SOO183735 and engine number G12BN164140.

An official spokesman said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has made a significant breakthrough in the investigation by identifying the vehicle and its owner after piecing together remnants of the car recovered from the scene of the blast.

The vehicle was sold to Mohammed Jalil Ahmed Haqani, a resident of heaven colony in Anantnag in 2011, and subsequently it was sold seven times and finally sold to Sajaad Bhat.

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“He was a student of Siraj-ul-Uloom [a madarsa], Shopian. A raid was conducted by an NIA team at his house with the help of J&K Police on February 23. However, Bhat was found not present in his house and thereafter has been evading arrest. He has reportedly now joined JeM. A photograph to this effect has also appeared in social media where he is seen holding weapons,” spokesperson added.

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The vehicle was used by Adil Ahmad Dar, the JeM terrorist who, drove the car from the service lane and rammed it into the CRPF convoy killing 40 CRPF personnel and injuring others. Ever since the incident, the security forces have come down heavily on terror operatives within the state and a number of encounters have taken place since then.

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