Aurangzeb was abducted and killed last week. The army is investigating possibility of leaks about Aurangzeb's movements. The army has asked all units to adhere to SOPs designed to protect its men and officers

Aurangzeb was abducted and killed in Pulwama

The Army is investigating whether information about movements of rifleman Aurangzeb, who was abducted and killed last week, was leaked. Aurangzeb was abducted from Kalam Pora Village in Pulwama (J&K), tortured and later shot dead.

India Today has accessed exclusive information of the fateful morning of June 14 when Aurangzeb -- who was on leave and on deputation with the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) from his parent unit 4 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry -- was abducted from a private Santro owned by Farooq Ahmed. Farooq Ahmed belongs to Awantipora, Pulwama.

Ahmed, who is a pharmacist with the Chaki Badrinath health center, told the police that he was stopped by two Army men at RR's Charlie Company's camp in Shadimarg, Shopian, on his way to work. Subsequently, he was asked to drop a soldier [Aurangzeb] on Old Mughal Road, around 6 km from the camp.

According to Ahmed's statement, he agreed to drop Aurangzeb as it was the only way to get out of the camp. "I picked up the solider and we drove towards Mughal Road," he said in his statement to the police. They were barely 1 km from the Army camp when their way was blocked by a Maruti car. Three armed men emerged from the car and "took hold of solider and pulled him into their car".

"They also broke my mobile phone," he said.

The Rajpora Police immediately informed the Army camp, which took 30 minutes to reach the police station and subsequently launched a hunt for Aurangzeb. Ten hours after Aurangzeb's abduction, his body was recovered from Gusoo Village, Pulwama district, with multiple gunshot wounds.

Sending Aurangzeb, who had participated in several counter-insurgency operations, including the elimination of dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger in April, unaccompanied with a stranger raises serious questions. Was there a lapse of standard operating procedures (SOPs)?

A senior officer involved with the investigation said, "There are elaborate procedures to protect soldiers who are from Jammu and Kashmir and there appears to have been a lapse. Our investigation is focusing on this issues. Aurangzeb had participated in several successful counter-terrorism operations in the past few months and more importantly he was being feted by people of his village. Naturally, he was target."

The army has asked all its units to adhere to SOPs designed to protect its men and officers. These procedures, for instance, include measures that ensure soldiers do not stand out as military men when they are at home.

"44 Rashtriya Rifles was a target because of the recent counter-terror operations it had carried out. Terrorists were watching the unit," Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, 47th Corps Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps -- also called the Chinar Corps -- told India Today.

A senior officer in the Chinar Corps said that "every death or unfortunate incident in the Army is probed and the same procedure is being followed in this case [killing of Aurangzeb]."