- Sandeep Kumar was involved in recent attack that killed six cops
- Lashkar behind gangs involved in bank robberies and other crimes: police
- He is said to be an aide of terrorist Bashir Lashkari who was killed
Sandeep Kumar Sharma from UP's Muzaffarnagar was involved in at least three recent attacks and also looted ATMs to help fund Lashkar's activities in Kashmir. The 36-year-old was said to be close to terrorist Bashir Lashkari, who was killed in an operation on July 1.
Kumar was paraded before journalists by the police, handcuffed and a black cloth covering his face.
"He was a willing participant and had been working with Lashkar since 2012. The terrorists used Sandeep Kumar to loot ATMs. He became a hardcore terrorist," said senior police officer Munir Khan, revealing that video evidence confirmed the use of criminals like Kumar by Lashkar terrorists.
"We now know who were behind the bank robberies. We are getting hold of them one by one. Initially, Sandeep Kumar was a criminal but after he came in touch with Lashkar terrorist, he started to loot banks and ATMs for them," Mr Khan said, promising "a number of arrests in the offing".
Kumar, according to the police, came to the Kashmir Valley in 2011 as a welder. During many visits over the years he came in contact with terrorists. He joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba this year and pulled off a series of ATM and bank robberies, after which he shared his booty with terrorists, the police say.
He is believed to have accompanied terrorists in the attack in Qazigund in which six policemen were killed and in the ambush of an army convoy in which a soldier was killed.
The police started investigating him after the July 1 encounter in Anantnag, in which 17 men, women and children were held hostage for hours. During the rescue operation, Kumar emerged from the house where the terrorists had been hiding. "When we came to know he is a non-local, it raised suspicion...what was a non-local doing with terrorists in a house in Anantnag?" Mr Khan explained. The police did not let him go.
The police said Kumar enjoyed a free run as he flashed his I-card and used his identity to get terrorists past security cordons. "It would have been a headache if he had been free," said Mr Khan.