NIA approaches FBI, other agencies to track cyber footprints

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached probe agencies of some foreign countries, including the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in connection with its probe into the Pathankot terror attack.

The help of the agencies is being sought even as Central probe agencies still await a formal response from Pakistan for allowing a NIA team to that country for a thorough investigation.

Official sources said today that the help of some of the agencies, including the FBI, had been sought for tracking some of the cyber footprints that had been left by handlers of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the aftermath of the attack on the strategic IAF base at Pathankot on the intervening night of January 1 and 2.

Immediately after the attack, Abdul Rauf, brother of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, was seen on a video taking responsibility on a website ‘alqalam.com’ and ‘rangonoor.com’ which were hosted by a US-based domain service provider.

While ‘alqalam’ was shut down before the arrival of Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to India last week, the other one remains hosted but the video has been removed.

The payments for the same website have been routed through a European country and NIA has sought details of the persons who made the payments and was subsequently renewing the contract with the domain provider, the sources said.

The NIA has also approached other international agencies regarding the weapons and other equipment seized after the 80-hour gunbattle with the terrorists at Pathankot.

NIA has conveyed to the Pakistani JIT which was headed by Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Muhammad Tahir Rai and also including ISI’s Lt Col Tanvir Ahmed, that the cooperation was extended in accordance with terms of reference mutually agreed on the basis of reciprocity and that it was waiting for a permission to visit that country.

The NIA has also sent a Letters Rogatory to Pakistan for which a response was still awaited.

The sources said NIA has provided all the evidence to the Pakistani JIT on the basis of written requests submitted by them to the central probe agency.

The terrorists entered the air base and mounted the brazen assault on the intervening night of January 1 and 2. In the fierce encounter that ensued, seven security personnel besides four terrorists were killed.

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