- Drone was kept hidden at paddy field in Punjab's Attari
- Terror accused took police to location where drone had gone down
- Drones carried out eight 'sorties' in 10 days this month: Sources
Another Pakistani drone used to drop weapons for terrorists has been found in Punjab's Attari, near the border with Pakistan, a senior police officer said today. Punjab Police's counter-intelligence unit found the drone after a terror accused, Akashdeep, took them to the location where the drone had gone down.
"This drone couldn't return to Pakistan due to a malfunction, so the accused hid it at a village near the Attari border," senior police officer Balbir Singh of the counter-intelligence unit said.
The drone was kept hidden beneath the undergrowth of a paddy field at the village. In visuals, policemen are seen walking in a file towards the drone.
The Punjab Police first announced last week the intrusion by heavy-lifting Pakistani drones to drop AK-47 assault rifles and grenades in Amritsar. The weapons were meant for terrorists to create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the Punjab Police have told NDTV.
The drones carried out eight 'sorties' in 10 days this month to drop the weapons, including satellite phones, on Indian soil, the sources said, asking not to be identified. These flying machines can carry up to 5 kg and they flew fast and low to evade detection, sources said.
Details of the drone were promptly shared with the central government for facilitating detailed technical investigations by concerned central agencies, a government statement read.
The police are trying to establish links of the terror groups involved in sending these drones from Pakistan, a spokesperson said.
Investigation has revealed that several Pakistan-based terrorist groups were engaged in smuggling weapons into India since August, after the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, and both the recovered drones were apparently sent by different terror groups, a government release said.
The Border Security Force (BSF) said they do not have the capacity to monitor aerial movement of such low-flying objects. "Such UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are detected by radars, not by the naked eye as such operations are launched at night," an officer said, asking not to be identified.
Four terrorists of the Khalistan Zindabad Force were arrested at Punjab's Tarn Taran district on Monday. All the weapons and fake notes worth Rs 10 lakh were recovered from them. A half-burnt drone was recovered by policemen in Tarn Taran last week, sources said. The terrorists burnt the machine after it failed to fly back to Pakistan, they said.
The counter-intelligence team of the Punjab Police made a similar recovery of arms in August in Amritsar, near the border with Pakistan.
The National Investigation Agency is looking into the case.
Senior BSF officer Vivek Johri visited Punjab on Thursday to monitor the situation and take damage-control measures. He will submit a report to the Union Home Ministry.
The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is conducting a sweep exercise to find out how many phones were functional along the International Border at the time of drone activity. They will also submit a report to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.