| The scene after a bomb went off at Gandhi Maidan during the BJP’s Hunkar Rally last year |
The casualty figure at the Hunkar Rally blasts could have been higher had Indian Mujahideen operatives carried out the attack, security agencies have revealed quoting Tahseen Akhtar.
During interrogation, Tahseen has revealed that members of Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) had carried out the serial bomb blasts in Patna last year.
Officials of the National Investigation Agency, assigned the responsibility to crack the case, revealed Tahseen’s claim. The alleged country operational head of Indian Mujahideen (IM) was arrested by a Delhi police special cell from Naxalbari, Darjeeling, on Tuesday. His claim has baffled senior officers in Patna, as they believed Tahseen was present in the city during the blasts.
Twenty-three-year-old Tahseen, originally from Samastipur’s Maniarpur village, reportedly told the interrogators that the Simi activists were not professionally adept in handling the improvised explosive devices (IEDs). As a result low-intensity explosives were used in the Patna blasts. “It was Haider Ali (from Aurangabad) who was handling the operation,” a police officer quoted Tahseen as saying.
In all, eight persons were killed in the string of explosions and over 80 people were injured. While five persons died on the spot, two succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. A suspected IM operative, who had suffered serious injuries in an explosion at Patna Junction on the day of the rally, died at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.
Tahseen, whose meteoric rise in the terror organisation has stunned one and all, admitted that he had met Ali in Ranchi. “He (Ali) provided me food and lodging during my Ranchi visit before the arrest of IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. I had also met Ainul alias Enul, who was fatally injured after a bomb accidentally went off in Patna Junction,” an intelligence bureau official, who was present during quizzing, quoted Tahseen as saying.
Senior police officers in Patna are baffled.
“This is in sharp contrast to the statement of Ranchi resident Imtiyaz Ansari, who was arrested from Patna Junction on the day of the blasts. Imtiyaz had told the interrogators that both Tahseen and Waqas (a Pakistani national Ziaur Rehman) were present during the Patna blasts,” senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said.
A senior NIA official associated with the probe into the terror attacks in Patna and Bodhgaya echoed him. “We will certainly verify the statement of the IM’s operational head,” he said.
Maharaaj added that a police team would be sent to Delhi shortly to ascertain Tahseen’s role in the Hunkar Rally blasts. “We have completed the legal formalities to take Waqas and Tahseen in police remand for interrogation. The team, headed by an additional superintendent of police, could not leave for Delhi earlier because the two were already in the custody of the Delhi police,” he told The Telegraph on Thursday.
The SSP said the team would be on its way as soon as it gets the signal from its counterparts in Delhi. “We are in touch with officers of Delhi police, who played an important role in the arrest of Tahseen, a top-ranking IM operative. Tahseen’s arrest is considered a big achievement for the security agencies,” he said.