Jammu/New Delhi: Planting of "fake" improvised explosive devices by some people allegedly in connivance with certain middle-rung Army officials is becoming a new way in militancy-ridden Jammu and Kashmir to earn hefty cash rewards.
Certain individuals, including ex-servicemen, allegedly in connivance with some officials of Northern and Western Commands are engaged in "planting black sand" and passing them on as RDX-laden IEDs to earn award money, highly-placed sources in the government said.
The interrogation report of some of the accused including Mehboob Dar and an ex-serviceman Ram Prasad show a deep-rooted "nexus" between the ex-servicemen and some serving officials especially working in the military intelligence in allegedly hatching a conspiracy and planting "fake" IEDs, they said.
The nexus emerged when police recovered a consignment of apple boxes on October eight near MLAs` hostel in Jammu in which a cavity had been created to store a black material which was being passed off as explosive. The boxes had detonators attached to them, triggering panic.
After a detailed forensic analysis, the explosive material turned out to be sand which was attached to wires and detonators that were brought from stone quarries to give a realistic look of an IED, the sources said.
They said it seems to be a well-planned racket in which these people earn cash rewards from secret funds given to military intelligence for gathering inputs from along the international border with Pakistan and the Line of Control.
For instance, Dar said during his interrogation that he used to get Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for planting these "fake" IEDs and he had done this at least 50 times between February 2009 and October 2010, when he was arrested.
The modus operandi was an eye-opener for the investigators as the details of the planting of fake IEDs as pointed out by Dar and his accomplice Krishen matched with the official records. In all such cases, it was found that such explosives were shown as "destroyed insitu" (destroyed on spot) by the Army which unearthed IEDs.
According to defence spokesperson in Jammu Lieutenant Colonel Biplab Nath, "Preliminary investigation was carried out the moment initial media reports appeared ten days ago.
"No involvement of military intelligence or Army personnel has come to light. The role of military intelligence personnel, in this case, was limited to providing timely inputs to police authorities," Nath said.