Srinagar: Police on Monday claimed to have busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module in Anantnag district with the arrest of two individuals, Sandeep Kumar Sharma alias Adil, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, and Muneeb Shah, a resident of Kulgam.
Addressing a press conference here, IG Kashmir Muneer Khan said the duo was involved in number of militancy and crime-related incidents in south Kashmir. Sharma was part of the militant group that killed six policemen in Achabal, Khan said.
Khan said the crimes and militancy-related activities carried out by the duo include looting of ATMs and “other immoral activities” in villages. The two arrested men were shown to the media and Khan said they were associated with Bashir Lashkari, the LeT commander who was killed recently in an encounter.
According to police, Sandeep Kumar Sharma, son of Ram Kumar Sharma of Muzaffarnagar in UP, was apprehended after he was found in the same house at Dialgam where Bashir Lashkari and two other militants were killed.
“We were surprised to see a non-local sitting in the same home where Bashir Lashkari had taken shelter,” Khan said. He said that investigations revealed that Sharma had been visiting Kashmir, particularly in summers, since 2012 and worked as a vendor here.
In winters he used to go to Punjab and work, particularly in Patiala area, there. “While working in Patiala he came in contact with Shahid Ahmad of Pohloo Kulgam, who also works there,” the IG said.
Khan said that in January 2017, Sharma came to Kashmir with a plan to loot ATMs and carry out other robberies. “Sandeep Kumar, Muneeb Shah, Shahid Ahmad and Muzaffar Ahmad stayed at a rented accommodation at Wanpoh Kulgam for the said purpose after returning from Punjab,” Khan said.
While leaving Wanpoh with the help of his associates, Sharma met hardcore LeT militant Shakoor Ahmad Dar of Sonput. “The meeting with Shakoor was arranged by Muneeb and his associate. That was the beginning of Sharma’s criminal activities,” Khan said.
He said that militants “used” Sharma for looting ATMs. “Four ATMs were looted and rupees worth lakhs were shared with militants of LeT,” Khan said.
The IG said that Sharma was also involved in “other immoral activities” in south Kashmir villages. “After the ATM loots, Sharma became a hardcore militant. He accompanied Bashir in three actions, including the killing of SHO Feroz,” Khan said.
He said Sharma’s actions included the attack on an army convoy at Lower Munda Qazigund on 03.06.2017, the weapon-snatching incident outside the residence of retired Justice Attar in Anchidoora on 13.06.2017, and the attack on police at Thajiwara Achabal on 16.06.2017 in which 6 policemen including SHO Feroz Dar were killed.
According to police, Sharma and his associates were involved in a number of ATM loots at Mominabad Ashajipora, KP Road, GB Stand Anantnag, Larkipora SBI ATM, Achabal Adda (SBI ATM), and Zirpora Bijbehara (SBI ATM).
Police said Sharma had earlier been arrested at PP Mir Bazar in a robbery case in March 2017.
“He was working as a key aide for Lashkari and was present in the house at Brinty Dialgam where the encounter took place on July 1, in which Lashkari along with Ukasha and Abu Maaz of Pakistan were killed,” Khan said.
“Sharma was acting as Over Ground worker for LeT. During the encounter, he was rescued along with other members of the family by police,” he said.
The IG said that Sharma was also to ferry arms from one place to another for militant attacks.
“Investigation is in progress and the subject has been arrested. On the directions of LeT, the subject along with his associates received LeT terrorists and dropped them at different sites for terror action in south Kashmir. He also concealed weapons looted from police guards in a vehicle and shifted them to different locations on the directions of LeT,” Khan said.