The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found out that the Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had planned the 2019 Pulwama terror attack with an eye on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) scrutiny of Pakistan. NIA officials say that money was transferred into Umer Farooq’s account in small packets to avoid scrutiny by international forums.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
“Money was transferred in five different instalments from Jaish handlers to Farooq’s accounts. The entire transaction didn’t happen at a go, like earlier,” said a senior officer supervising the NIA probe.
The NIA has attached to the charge sheet a copy of the pay-in-slip and Farooq’s cheque books of Allied Bank of Pakistan and Meenaz Bank of Pakistan where the money was transferred. A total of Pakistani Rs 10.36 lakh was transferred in five instalments between 27 January and 4 February. The initial plan was to carry out the blast on 6 February, but snowfall ensured it was postponed.
The NIA has attached screenshots of Farooq giving a total expense breakdown to his handlers too. The screenshots of WhatsApp chat in Urdu show that the terrorists incurred total expenses of Rs 5.7 lakh.
In the chat, Farooq tells his handlers that he spent Rs 1.85 lakh to buy the Maruti Eco car used in the blast, Rs 50,000 to modify it for the purpose of the bombing, Rs 2.5 lakh to buy explosives like aluminium powder, calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate and gelatin sticks and Rs 30,000 on buying fertilisers used to extract nitrate compounds for the IED.
The FATF has demanded that Pakistan show verifiable evidence to prove that proscribed terror organisations like the JeM have been stopped from using banking channels. Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list for its failure to do so.