Representational image. Jammu and Kashmir Police investigators have discovered with electronic evidence that the malicious blog used to vilify the valley-based journalists and civil society members had been designed and made operational from a Pakistan-based IP address (Pic: Courtesy bmmagazine.co.uk)
The Jammu and Kashmir Police investigators have discovered with electronic evidence that the malicious blog used to vilify the valley-based journalists and civil society members had been designed and made operational from a Pakistan-based IP address in early 2018. It has been noticed that the blog, which maligned over 30 journalists and issued four hit lists, was operated from Kashmir and possibly also some foreign countries.
As already reported, the J&K Police on Saturday claimed to have arrested five persons, including Sofi Mohammad Akbar, Secretary of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, his son, daughter and her fiancé, who had been operating the blog kashmirfight.wordpress.com since 2018. The Police have claimed to have seized a quantity of electronic devices, including 32 smartphones, two laptops, one tab and several memory cards and hard disk storages, from the detainees.
Officers associated with the investigation revealed that the sleuths have obtained 889 pages of printed matter, mostly the malignant profiling of journalists, advocates and other civil society members, who were invariably labelled as “Indian agents” and accused of working at the behest of the Government of India. Two of the blog’s victims, namely journalist Shujaat Bukhari and familiar TV panellist Babar Qadri, were subsequently shot dead in two separate terror attacks.
Well-placed sources revealed that Sofi’s several visits to London, Dubai and other foreign countries, as also his properties, allegedly worth over Rs 300 crore, were under the scanner. His last foreign visit was to London, along with his second wife, in 2019. One member of the family, currently under sustained interrogation, has been found to have visited China as many as 5 times in just 2 years.
Sofi is said to have got a job in SMC and subsequently several grade promotions in successive governments. His last posting was Secretary in SMC.
During the course of the investigation, the Police sleuths have learned that another officer of SMC, who had also risen to senior ranks, had also acted as a militant in the 1990s. “Our sources tell us that Rs 4 crore had been seized from him during the Governor’s rule and his services were terminated. However, during the National Conference government he has managed to enter the service again allegedly with the help of a Cabinet Minister. He is currently holding a top position in the SMC. We are thoroughly investigating all such inputs”, said an officer.
The officer said that the sleuths had “tonnes of electronic evidence” to establish that the detainees had been operating the malicious blog on behalf of a foreign agency with the aim of getting some valley-based journalists and other prominent members of the civil society maligned and killed. “We may start fresh investigation into certain assassinations including those of a businessman, journalist Shujaat Bukhari and advocate Babar Qadri”, said the officer.
According to the office, the electronic evidences were in the form of cellphones, laptops, tablets, memory cards and hard disk storages. “Some of the evidence is in the devices seized from the detainees, some in the iCloud and some partly in our devices and partly in the devices in possession of the people yet to be arrested and interrogated”, said the officer. He said in addition to the cybercrime, the sleuths would investigate how some active terrorists had been taken into the government service, how their Police and CID verifications had been managed, how they had risen to senior ranks and how they had amassed fortunes in hundreds of crores of Rupees in SMC.