Army soldiers under scanner
'FAKE' IEDs IN JK
Jammu/New Delhi, Jan 2: Planting of "fake" improvised explosive devices by some people allegedly in connivance with certain middle-rung Army officials is becoming a new way in Jammu and Kashmir to earn hefty cash rewards.
Certain individuals, including ex-servicemen, allegedly in connivance with some officials of Northern and Western Commands are engaged in "planting black sand" and passing them on as RDX-laden IEDs to earn award money, highly-placed sources in the government said.
The interrogation report of some of the accused including Mehboob Dar and an ex-serviceman Ram Prasad show a deep-rooted "nexus" between the ex-servicemen and some serving officials especially working in the military intelligence in allegedly hatching a conspiracy and planting "fake" IEDs, they said.
The nexus emerged when police recovered a consignment of apple boxes on October eight near MLAs' hostel in Jammu in which a cavity had been created to store a black material which was being passed off as explosive. The boxes had detonators attached to them, triggering panic.
After a detailed forensic analysis, the explosive material turned out to be sand which was attached to wires and detonators that were brought from stone quarries to give a realistic look of an IED, the sources said.
They said it seems to be a well-planned racket in which these people earn cash rewards from secret funds given to military intelligence for gathering inputs from along the international border with Pakistan and the Line of Control.
For instance, Dar said during his interrogation that he used to get Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for planting these "fake" IEDs and he had done this at least 50 times between February 2009 and October 2010, when he was arrested.
The modus operandi was an eye-opener for the investigators as the details of the planting of fake IEDs as pointed out by Dar and his accomplice Krishen matched with the official records. In all such cases, it was found that such explosives were shown as "destroyed insitu" (destroyed on spot) by the Army which unearthed IEDs.
According to defence spokesperson in Jammu Lieutenant Colonel Biplab Nath, "Preliminary investigation was carried out the moment initial media reports appeared ten days ago.
"No involvement of military intelligence or Army soldiers has come to light. The role of military intelligence soldiers, in this case, was limited to providing timely inputs to police authorities," Nath said.
Notwithstanding the statement of the defence spokesman, investigators from both state and central security agencies said the role of Dar and Krishen was limited at planting of explosives.
"Someone in the Command is for sure involved in hatching and executing the conspiracy," a senior official said, adding the probe was still on and some personnel of Army will be questioned soon.
Dar had told his interrogators that he had initially been directed by Satnam Singh, an intelligence operative working with the Army, to bring some sand, crushed stones and cement and pay money to stone quarries to get detonators.
These were assembled and planted along with gelatin sticks at a bridge in Doda.
Later, recalled Dar, he had read in a newspaper the next day that the Army had recovered the same and shown it as IED, the official said, adding for this work, Singh had paid him Rs 40,000.
In certain cases, Dar was asked by some officials of the Army intelligence to "gift" IEDs to some people after he had developed the art of manufacturing the fake devices, the sources said.
They said Dar or Krishen were not alone in this trade and it was fast becoming a "cottage industry" where civilians were roped in for such acts with the bait of easy money.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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