KD NEWS SERVICE
SRINAGAR, Jan 20: The State Investigation Agency (SIA), Kashmir, has filed a charge-sheet against 12 accused in connection with the murder of a Kashmiri Pandit ATM guard in February last year, officials said on Saturday.
Sanjay Sharma was shot dead at Achhan Pulwama in south Kashmir on February 26, 2023, with officials saying investigation hints at a broader conspiracy from across the border.
“The SIA Kashmir has filed a comprehensive charge sheet against 12 individuals in connection with the brutal murder of Kashmiri Pandit Sanjay Sharma. The case, initially registered at Police Station Litter Pulwama under FIR No. 14/2023, was later transferred to the SIA Kashmir for specialised investigation,” an official said.
The charge-sheet has been filed before the Special Designated Court under the NIA (National Investigation Agency) Act at Pulwama.
The accused include Pakistan-resident Khalid Kamran; Shopian-residents Jazim Farooq Wani alias Abrar, Shameem Ahmad Bhat alias Uncle, Danish Ahmad Thokar, and Ubaid Ahmad Paddar; Anantnag-residents Zaffar Hussain Bhat alias Khursheed Kashmiri, Nassir Farooq Shah, Aamir Hussain Wani, Towseef Ahmad Pandith, Sajjad Ahmad Bhat alias Afnan Bhat and Sahil Bashir Dar; and Kulgam-resident Sarjeel Ahmad Bhat.
While investigation continues into the role of Yasir Shabir Wani, eight out of the 13 accused, including three juveniles, are currently under judicial custody, the officials said.
Jazim Farooq Wani, Thokar, and Paddar have been killed in encounters with security forces.
Zaffar Hussain Bhat alias Khursheed Kashmiri and Khalid Kamran are absconding, they added.
“The aim of the accused aim was to disrupt the revival of peace and communal harmony in the valley, using the murder of an innocent person from the minority community to fuel communal disharmony and sustain terrorism,” said the official quote above.
The SIA Kashmir conducted extensive searches across South Kashmir, unearthing vital physical and technical evidence.
“This evidence exposed the accused persons’ involvement in the crime, including providing logistical support, harbouring the accused, and concealing evidence. During investigation, the SIA conducted five rounds of extensive searches at 32 locations across the valley, during which evidence in the shape of mobile devices, incriminating documents viz Bank Documents and a Pistol magazine and live cartridges were seized,” he said.
The investigation revealed that the accused were acting on instructions from terror handlers across the border and maintaining communication via encrypted online messaging platforms, the officials said.
They said Jazim Farooq Wani, who pulled the trigger, received weapon handling training from Nassir Farooq Shah on the directives of Pakistani handler Khalid Kamran.
The investigation will continue and the SIA is committed to ensure all the accused who have been a part of the crime in any way are brought to justice, the officials said. (Agencies)