Detained JeM terrorist reveals plan to attack NSA Ajit Doval
Security at National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval's office and residence has been beefed up after an arrested Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist revealed a plan to attack Doval. He disclosed that he conducted reconnaissance at Sardar Patel Bhawan and several other high-value targets in Delhi as per his Pakistan-based handler's instructions following which a security dragnet was thrown around Doval's office and residence. Here's more.
The Union Home Affairs Ministry and the concerned security agencies have been informed of the possible threat to Doval, reported Hindustan Times, citing people familiar with the development. Doval, who is one of the country's most protected people, has been a target of Pakistan-based terror outfits since the 2016 Uri surgical strikes and the 2019 Balakot airstrike on JeM terror camps in Pakistan.
Notably, Doval has a running battle with Jaish-e-Mohammed founder and chief, Masood Azhar. In 1994, when Doval was the Joint Director of the Intelligence Bureau, he had interrogated Azhar following his arrest in India. Later, in 1999, Doval had also escorted Azhar to the Kandahar Airport following the hijack of the Indian Airlines' IC-814 flight from Kathmandu to Delhi.
Meanwhile, the arrested JeM operative Hidayat-Ullah Malik, a resident of Jammu & Kashmir's Shopian, revealed information regarding a detailed video recce of Doval's office, said officials in Srinagar and Delhi. Also, a case against Malik was registered at Jammu's Gangyal Police station. Malik, the chief of JeM front group Lashkar-e-Mustafa, was arrested in Anantnag on February 6 with arms and ammunition in his possession.
Moreover, Malik told the interrogators that he flew from Srinagar to Delhi on May 24, 2019, to record a video of Doval's office that also covered the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security detail. He then shared the video on WhatsApp with the Pakistan-based handler, who Malik simply referred to as "Doctor." He said that he later returned to Kashmir on a bus.
Malik also admitted to J&K Police that he recced the Samba sector border area in 2019 with Sameer Ahmad Dar, who was arrested last year for involvement in the 2019 Pulwama attack. Malik—who also provided a car for a suicide attack last May—confessed he and three other JeM terrorists looted Rs. 60 lakh from a J&K Bank cash van in Shopian in November 2020.
Malik revealed the names, codenames, and phone numbers of 10 of his contacts in Pakistan, including his handler. J&K Police shared these details with security agencies; two of his contacts were later killed in Shopian and Sopore. Malik also told interrogators about his background—initially as a JeM over-ground worker, joining Hizbul Mujahideen in 2019, and shifting to JeM and raising a front group in 2020.