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Centre refutes Rahul Gandhi's claims of Ajit Doval's role in JeM chief Masood Azhar's release in 1999: Sources

Ajit Doval, who was in the Intelligence Bureau in 1999, led the four-member negotiating team to Kandahar to negotiate Azhar's release.

Centre refutes Rahul Gandhi's claims of Ajit Doval's role in JeM chief Masood Azhar's release in 1999: Sources

NEW DELHI: The Central government has denied the allegations levelled by Congress president Rahul Gandhi over the role of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in the 1999 release of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) head Masood Azhar. As per sources, Doval had no role to play in the release of the terrorist following the hijack of the Indian Airlines Flight 814.  

Doval, who was a senior officer in the Intelligence Bureau in 1999, led the four-member negotiating team to Kandahar to negotiate Azhar's release. Government sources say that Doval had, in fact, opposed the release of Azhar and the two other terrorists who were released with him.

Rahul had on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Pulwama terror attack, and tweeted pictures of Doval accompanying the three terrorists who were released in Kandahar.

"PM Modi please tell the families of our 40 CRPF Shaheeds (martyrs), who released their murderer, Masood Azhar? Also tell them that your current NSA was the deal maker, who went to Kandahar to hand the murderer back to Pakistan," the Congress chief said in a tweet.

Rahul also made the accusation while addressing a public gathering in Karnataka's Haveri on Saturday. He said: "A few days ago, our soldiers were martyred in Pulwama. Who was responsible for Pulwama terror attack? Who sent Masood Azhar back to Pakistan? It was the BJP. Ajit Doval, who is the National Security Advisor for Prime Minister Modi led Central government, escorted head of JeM Azhar back to Pakistan. We are not like Narendra Modi. We don’t bow down to terrorists," he had said.

Azhar, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, had founded JeM soon after his release from the Indian prison in 1999. JeM has been behind multiple terrorist attacks in the country including the first suicide attack in Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar in April 2000, Parliament attack on 13 December 2001 as well as the recent Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.