Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Burdwan blast: Security agencies on the lookout for 2 suspects as Mamata govt admits to terror link

KOLKATA: The CID is on the lookout for two suspects Kausar and Abdul Kalam Sheikh in connection with the Burdwan blast case in which two suspected militants were killed and another person was injured on October 2 in Bengal.

Kausar is suspected to be a regular at the house in Khagragarh were the blast took place.

The CID is also searching for one Abul Kalam, a resident of Mangalkote area of the district.

The investigators are on his trail after they found seven calls made to him from a mobile phone immediately after the blast.


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The mobile phone from which the calls were made was seized by the police from the house after the explosion.

"From the video clips that were recovered from the mobile, several footages of attack on World Trade Center, lectures on Jihad and other training modules were recovered," a senior CID officer said.

(A police sketch of one of the militants killed in Burdwan)

Three people, including two women, have been arrested so far in this connection.

Those arrested include Hafez Mollah alias Hasan who was picked up by the CID from his house at Khar Duttapa in Purbostholi.

On the basis of information gathered from Hafez Mollah, the police released a sketch of the prime suspect who is based in Bangladesh.

The sketch has been sent to all the police stations of Burdwan and nearby districts and railway stations to nab him, CID officers said.

The CID officers said that the mastermind behind the blast visited the house a couple of days before the blast to prepare a blue print of subversive activities.

Mamata govt admits to terror link

The Mamata Banerjee government on Monday came around to concede that last Thursday's accidental bomb blast in Burdwan involved al-Qaida linked Bangladeshi terrorist organization, Jamaat ul Mujahideen, even as it struggled to fend off pressure from political opponents to let National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe the explosions.

The changed stance encouraged BJP and CPM to step up their criticism of the state government.

Arguing that the state government cannot be trusted to conduct a fair probe, CPM's Amal Haldar sought the immediate removal of Burdwan SP, S M H Meerza, and a probe against him.

BJP went a step further and demanded that the investigation be handed over to the NIA.

"The blast is an act of terror and it has implications on international and national security. The state should hand over the investigations to NIA. The Centre will put pressure on the state to hand over the investigation," BJP general secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told agencies. He said it is a matter of national security — an aspect which should not be neglected for narrow political interests of TMC.

NIA Act does allow the Centre to suo motu hand over investigation into any "scheduled" offence to the agency, but the provision has not been invoked so far.

This did not seem to deter the BJP which has expressed the apprehension that state agencies might cover up the case. "Why is the Trinamool Congress government not handing over the probe to NIA? The delay is raising serious questions of cover-up. BJP demands that investigation be handled by NIA and no other agency," Singh said.

Alleging that links of a senior police officer in Burdwan with TMC were "very well known", Singh said he had been transferred by the Election Commission just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and chief minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to bring him back to the same position after the elections, which she did.

"Has the TMC regime used its favourite officer to destroy evidence and cover up the role of a section of TMC leaders in anti-national activities?" Singh asked.

Both BJP and CPM have based their allegations on the alleged keenness of the state government to underplay the explosions during Durga Puja festivities despite overwhelming evidence that those could not have been the handiwork of ordinary criminals. Scores of bombs, hand grenades and gelatine sticks were recovered from the house which, it seems, functioned as the bomb-assembling unit for al-Qaida linked Bangladesh's terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

(With inputs from PTI)

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