National Investigation Agency is mulling to file a charge sheet against Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar for the terrorist attack on the Pathankot IAF base. The NIA is also likely to name Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf and two other "handlers" involved in the terror strike.
The chargesheet is expected to reflect India's determination to pursues cases against Azhar and maintain pressure on the UN Security Council to sanction the terrorist mastermind despite China exercising a veto on behalf of Pakistan. The two handlers likely to be named by NIA are also Pakistani nationals Kashif Jaan and Shahid Latif.
After completing its investigations and collecting substantial evidence by way of forensics and phone taps, the NIA is in a position to squarely blame Jaish and its chief. The Indian agency has also approached the US for more technical evidence.
According to an official, who didn't wish to be identified, NIA is examining legal options on filing a charge sheet against Azhar and other JeM members "in absentia". Once legal ramifications are examined approval of the home ministry will be sought.
Earlier, NIA had filed a charge-sheet "in absentia" in 2011 against Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley, Lashkar e Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Zaki Ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Tahawur Hussain Rana and two ISI officers, Major Samir and Major Iqbal, among others for their role in 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
"Pakistan, like always, is not cooperating when it comes to sharing information and evidence in terror-related cases. The idea behind filing a chargesheet without Pakistan's support is that it will strengthen India's case legally and the charge-sheet can be used against Maulana Masood Azhar, Abdul Rauf and others," said the official.
The chargesheet will be part of India's campaign to build international pressure on Pakistan to hand over the Pathankot attack masterminds to India, the official said.
Pakistan, despite repeated reminders through MEA, has not provided any evidence in the Pathankot attack and has also remained silent on allowing an NIA team to visit or giving access to Azhar and other suspects.
While NIA has technical and forensic evidence pointing to the involvement of Pak-based perpetrators in the deadly attack, the US has also provided crucial evidence in the form of chats and email conversations of JeM members to the agency.
Pakistan has so far not acted on the Interpol's red corner notice issued against all the suspects, which shares evidence, including phone conversations of the four slain terrorists, their addresses, family members' details, financial details of Al-Rehmat Trust (financial arm of JeM) and chats/messages of JeM handlers.
India had allowed a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to visit Pathankot to collect evidence, but Islamabad has violated the terms of reciprocity.
"Now, we don't think Pakistan will ever act on evidence given by us because it doesn't want to," said an official.