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Hunt for blast suspect

- NIA sleuths take Danish to Delhi on transit remand

Patna/Darbhanga, Jan. 22: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has launched a manhunt in Samastipur district in search of a New Delhi bomb blast suspect following the arrest of an Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative in Darbhanga last night.

NIA sources said the agency was looking for Tehsin alias Manu, a resident of Maniharpur village in Samastipur, around 100km northeast of Patna. Tehsin’s name figured among 17 active members of the terror outfit. Five of them belonged to Bihar, while the rest were said to be residents of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Among the five IM operatives, Danish, 20, was arrested from Chakjohara in the Laheriasarai area of Darbhanga town. Superintendent of police (Darbhanga city) Kumar Ekle said: “Danish was arrested by the NIA sleuths around 9.20pm. He was produced today before the Darbhanga chief judicial magistrate, who allowed the NIA team to take him to New Delhi on transit remand.” The officer added that a non-bailable arrest warrant was pending against Danish in connection with the 2010 bomb blast at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. “The NIA team executed the warrant and the local police cooperated with it. We had no other role to play,” he told The Telegraph from Darbhanga over phone.

Sources said a four-member NIA team, led by deputy superintendent of police Mohammad Tanzeel, was in the town since January 19 and had been conducting raids at various places to arrest Danish.

When residents of Chakjohara came to know that the NIA sleuths were in search of Danish, they organised a meeting on Sunday under the leadership of one Mohammad Izhaar. They then decided to hand over Danish to the police. Last evening, the residents called the NIA team to a hotel, where Danish surrendered before the security personnel. Izhaar said: “Since Danish is innocent, why should he escape from the police? In consonance with his family and other colony residents, we handed him over to the NIA team. They have promised to help the innocent boy. Danish had been to Delhi a year ago and stayed there for 15 days. It is difficult to believe that he would have any terror link.” Danish’s father Mohammed Jakir Ansari said: “He is the sole earner for the family. He used to give tuition to children up to Class V to support the eight-member family.” Ansari, who is in his sixties and is a small-time footwear seller, said his son did not go out of the town and left studies after completing matriculation from the zila school (Darbhanga) in 2008.

An NIA official, however, said Danish was the right hand of Indian Mujahideen mastermind Yasin Bhatkal and was allegedly associated with blasts in Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. “He used to stay at several places in Darbhanga town. When Yasin used to come to Darbhanga, he was in close contact with Danish,” the official added.

Sources said 12 people from Bihar have so far been booked for their alleged links with the terror outfit in the past two years. Six of them were from Darbhanga and Madhubani districts.