In a major embarrassment for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an accused in the Pulwama terror case was granted bail just days after the attack's one year anniversary after the Central agency failed to file a chargesheet in the prescribed statutory period of 180 days, according to several media reports.
The order was pronounced by an NIA court in Delhi's Patiala House on 18 February.
According to reports, the accused, Yusuf Chopan, is suspected of having provided logistical support to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist. The JeM took responsibility for the attack and had even released a video of the attacker.
According to a report in Livelaw.in, "The application for bail was moved on the grounds that Chopan had been in custody for around 180 days and the investigating agency is yet to file a chargesheet despite the time for doing so having elapsed."
As per the court order, the NIA submitted that the statutory period of 180 days for investigation in respect to Chopan lapsed on 11 February, and that the chargesheet was not filed due to "insufficient evidence". However, further probe is underway, NIA added.
Additional Sessions Judge Parveen Singh granted bail to Chopan on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and the condition that he would join the investigation as and when required and attend the court in accordance with the conditions of the bond.
Expressing shock over the incident, Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "It's an insult to the martyrs. Clearly, the government used this tragic attack for political purposes and was never serious about justice."
On 14 February, 2019, a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist drove an explosive-laden SUV into a convoy of vehicles carrying paramilitary troops on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, killing at least 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personnel and injuring another 20.