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NIA cleans out homes of Sithio duo

Ranchi, Jan. 13: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team visited Sithio village on the state capital’s outskirts today and attached properties of two Patna serial blast accused after a month’s deadline issued to them for their surrender expired.

The NIA team, headed by deputy superintendent of police P.K. Avasthi, took away a number of articles — mostly items of daily use — from residences of Numan Ansari, who used to work as an electrician, and the other suspect, believed to be a minor, in the presence of family members and Dhurwa police.

Today’s NIA operation that went on for over four hours from 9am to 1.30pm, was conducted a month after proclamation notices — intimation that their property would be seized if they didn’t surrender — were pasted outside their homes at the village about 20km from Ranchi.

“I had never thought that such a day will come in our lives. I want my son to surrender before the NIA and tell them the truth. I want to see my son,” wailed Numan’s mother Jarina Khatoon (55) as the NIA team scanned his room in the single-storeyed house built on land belonging to PSU Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC).

The team took away a cot, a plastic mat, a broom, a wooden table, a briefcase containing clothes, bedsheets, utensils and a wall clock.

Similar articles of daily use were seized from two rooms of a modest double-storeyed house, about a kilometre away, where the other accused lived.

These were a cot, broom, sofa chairs, an electric lamp, a bag of clothes, baskets, a winnowing tray, mosquito nets, bedsheets, mattresses and a sickle.

It took the team almost three hours to take out all the items while relatives of the accused looked on.

When contacted, Avasthi refused to comment on today’s seizure, an action usually taken to mount pressure on accused to surrender.

Similar was the response from the NIA inspector accompanying Avasthi.

Officer-in-charge of Dhurwa police station Birendra Rajvanshi, who assisted the NIA team, said a list of all the items taken away were handed over to the families.

“Lists were provided to families of both the accused. They co-operated with us,” he added.

Abdul Wahab, the driver of the auto-rickshaw that was used to ferry the attached property to Dhurwa police station, claimed the seized items weren’t worth much.

Mushkil se ek lakh bhi nahi hoga. Samaan purana tha. Dono ghar se ek ek trip hua (It won’t be anywhere near Rs 1 lakh. The items were old. It just required one trip from each house to ferry them),” he told The Telegraph.

Numan and the boy have been absconding ever since Imtiyaz Ansari, another Sithio youth said to be related to the minor, named them as accomplices during questioning after he was arrested for carrying out the blasts ahead of Narendra Modi’s Hunkar Rally in Bihar’s Gandhi Maidan October 27.

As many as six low intensity blasts had taken place on the periphery of Gandhi Maidan after an initial explosion in Patna Railway Station.

Seven persons died, while several others were injured, with investigations leading the terror trail to Sithio where the plot was allegedly hatched.

Another Sithio resident, Tarique alias Enul, was also arrested from Patna Junction the same day.

Enul succumbed to his injuries he had sustained due to mishandling of his bomb on November 1.