Monks enjoy a rickshaw ride in Bodhgaya on Sunday. Picture by Suman
Patna, Aug. 18: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has detained two persons from Darbhanga for interrogation in connection with the serial blasts at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya, has not ruled out the possibility of quizzing Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Abdul Karim Tunda.
Arrested from India-Nepal border yesterday, Tunda masterminded several blasts in India. A member of the probe team camping at Bodhgaya said: “Tunda is a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative and has been involved in blasts across the country. Thus, his interrogation in Bodhgaya blast case cannot be ruled out.”
While the NIA team is mulling interrogation of Tunda, it summoned Md Farooq and Shashi Ranjan Sahu — both residents of Sakri Bazaar under the jurisdiction of Manigachhi police station in Darbhanga district — for interrogation. “The two youths deposed before the investigating agency in Bodhgaya town yesterday,” said an investigating officer.
He said one of the two youths was earlier associated with Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), a banned organisation. “Farooq, an artiste in an orchestra group (musical group), had closely been associated with the Simi,” the officer said, adding that he was under the surveillance of the NIA since the serial blasts on the premises of the Buddhist shrine on July 7, around 115km south from here.
Sahu, the other youth, owns an electronic gadget shop at Sakri Bazaar. “The NIA team summoned the two Darbhanga residents aged about 30 years, for examination on the basis of call details record (CDR) of their cellphones. They made and received calls from a particular area an hour before and after the cylinders bombs went off at 11 places,” the officer said on the condition of anonymity.
Darbhanga senior superintendent of police Upendra Sharma said he had received a letter from the NIA on August 16 regarding quizzing of the two youths of the district. “The youths in question were picked up by local police and were sent to Bodhgaya for interrogation,” he added.
Besides the two persons detained from Darbhanga, a few other suspects from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Ranchi in Jharkhand have been summoned for questioning in connection with the blasts in Bodhgaya. “So far we have quizzed about 100 persons in connection with the serial explosions. The exercise is aimed at ascertaining the identity of the local links of the Indian Mujahideen, which is suspected to have carried out the attack on the pilgrimage site of the Buddhists,” the NIA officer told The Telegraph.
The officer claimed that the NIA had gathered some important clues in the case. He said the agency was also verifying a purported blog of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Laskhar-e-Toiba, which claimed to have owned the responsibility of the Bodhgaya blasts in which two monks were injured.
“The blog is believed to have been created in Pakistan. It is littered with jehadi propaganda with videos and has an interview of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed given to a Pakistani news channel,” the officer said.
The blog claimed that the Bodhgaya serial explosions were the fallout of atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar and were allegedly carried out by Rohingya Mujahideen, an outfit trained by Lashkar-e-Toiba. “The NIA is probing the blog with the help of other intelligence agencies to check the Internet address used to create it,” he said.
Earlier three Gaya residents, including Vinod Mistri and Rahul, besides five persons hailing from Patna, were interrogated by NIA in connection with the blast case.
The agency had also pasted the photographs and addresses of 10 “most wanted terrorists” at public places in Darbhanga, Samastipur and Madhubani districts, considered to be hotbed of the militant outfits.