Barely four months after an Army colonel and six others were chargesheeted for carrying out fake encounters in Jammu and Kashmir, Military Intelligence officials are now accused of playing along with an ex-Army personnel in planting sand and passing it off as RDX explosives to earn cash rewards.
The nefarious nexus emerged when police recovered a consignment of apple boxes near MLA’s hostel in Jammu in which a cavity had been created to store a black material which was being passed off as explosives. The boxes had detonators attached to it, triggering panic on October 8.
However, after a detailed forensic analysis, the supposed-to-be 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 improvised explosive device (IED), sources in the Union Home Ministry said quoting interrogation of three of the accused arrested by the police.
The accused — Mehboob Dar, an ex-serviceman Ram Krishen and Mohammed Rafi — were picked up after a stone quarry dealer cracked during questioning and told the police that he had been supplying detonators to Dar earlier also, the sources said.
Dar’s arrest showed that sand was planted in connivance with some army officials for monetary consideration and also claimed that the rate for planting of fake explosives at Jammu was fixed at Rs 60,000.
Northern Command spokesperson J S Brar said, “It is requested that Western Command be approached for the same, as it does not pertains to our area.” Efforts to seek a response from the Western Command did not fructify as there was no reply to an SMS sent to the Brigadier General Staff of the Command.
The incident comes four months after three youths were gunned down allegedly in cold blood by some army officials in Machil sector of North Kashmir. The state police has filed a charge sheet against an army colonel, two majors and six soldiers.
The arrest of Ram Krishen has raised eyebrows among the central security agencies as he has been instrumental in recovery of explosives for the Northern Command. During the probe carried out discreetly, it has been found that all such explosives were shown as “destroyed insitu” (destroyed on spot).
Dar and Rafiq are special police officers with the Jammu and Kashmir Police who have been since suspended by the Government.