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Alarmed, NIA to have footprint in Ranchi

- IG alerts state top brass about terror cells in capital, Gumla, Ramgarh, Hazaribagh

Ranchi, Nov. 25: National Investigation Agency (NIA) today held a crucial meeting with top bureaucratic and police brass on sharing intelligence inputs at a time when Jharkhand has bared its worrying credentials as a soft target for Indian Mujahideen (IM) to recruit youths as terror fodder.

The NIA is also mulling setting up an office in the capital of Jharkhand, which figures among states with IM sleeper cells and modules.

NIA IG Sanjiv Kumar Singh, heading the team probing Jharkhand links to Patna serial blasts, held a meeting at Project Building with home secretary N.N. Pandey, Jharkhand police ADG (special branch) Rezi Dungdung and DIG (organised crime) Sampat Meena.

“We discussed issues related to internal security,” Pandey said.

Dungdung added opening of an NIA office in Ranchi was among the many agendas discussed.

“I believe that the NIA will open its branch in Jharkhand. The agency has requested facilities and necessary logistic support,” Dungdung said.

He refused to comment on the NIA’s findings about Jharkhand’s connection with Patna serial blasts and IM’s modules in Ranchi.

“I can’t speak about NIA’s investigation. Jharkhand police is merely coordinating with the NIA. But yes, better coordination between state police and NIA was discussed,” he said.

Jharkhand police accepted that the lack of an Anti-Terrorist Squad in the state was badly felt and expressed hope that it would come up soon.

A police source, who refused to be named, said NIA shared inputs on specific IM pockets in Jharkhand, including Ranchi, Gumla, Ramgarh and Hazaribagh.

If the source is to be believed, NIA advised the police to be alert about Santhal Pargana districts bordering Bengal.

So far, the role of at least six persons from Ranchi prominently figured in the Patna serial blasts.

Alleged bomber Imtiyaz Ansari from village Sithio on the outskirts of Ranchi city was arrested in Patna on the day of the blasts on October 27 with explosives in his possession, his aide and neighbour Tarique died of bomb injuries in police custody.

Two other Patna bomb planters from Sithio, Nauman and Taufiq, are still on the run.

NIA arrested alleged IM alleged operative Uzair Ahmed from Doranda police station area.

In early November, nine time bombs were recovered from a Hindpiri hostel where a so-called UPSC aspirant Muzibullah Ansari of Chakla village in Ormanjhi stayed.

He apparently acted as a conduit for Bihar IM operatives Haider Ali and Tahsheen Akhter alias Monu.

IM sleeping cells were also busted in Ranchi when youths Manzar Imam and Danish were arrested in early 2013 and 2011.

Manzar was nabbed from Kanke and Danish from Varodara.

Sanjiv Kumar Singh of the NIA was among those who probed the case of Yashin Bhatkal, a top IM operative arrested from the Indo-Nepalese border in Bihar a couple of months ago.

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