A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team brought Indian Mujahideen officiating head Tehsin Akhtar alias Monu to Ranchi on Tuesday for identifying the places he had stayed in to plan the blasts at Narendra Modi’s Patna rally last year.
Akhtar (30), who was arrested from Darjeeling in March this year, is one of the main accused in the October 27 serial bomb blasts that killed seven people and injured several others.
Ranchi’s links to the case were established after investigations revealed that the plot was hatched by IM modules in the state capital and two of the arrested suspects — one of them died of injuries sustained in the explosion — hailed from Sithio, a village barely 20km from the state capital. Later, names of two other Sithio residents cropped in the case.
Led by SP Vikash Bhaibav, the NIA team arrived in Ranchi in the morning. Sources said that in the afternoon, Akhtar, a resident of Ujiarpur in Samastipur district in Bihar, was taken to a lodge at Netajinagar in Kanta Toli, where he had hid for sometime in the past.
In the evening, he was taken to Sithio village in Dhurwa from where four other accused — Imtiyaz Ansari, Tarique alias Enul, Numan Ansari and a teenager — hail.
However, some local residents objected to the visit, saying that people of the village and the accused’s family members were being unnecessarily tortured in the name of investigations.
Confirming the NIA team’s visit along with Manu, Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar said: “They had brought Tehsin Akhtar to the city and took him to several places, including Sithio. The NIA had sought our assistance and we sent a police team to help.”
Imtiyaz was arrested with explosives at Patna railway station on the day of the blasts, whereas Enul got killed while trying to tie a bomb around his waist. During interrogations, Imtiyaz revealed the names of Numan and the other suspect, believed to be a minor. Both are at large.
Imtiyaz also confessed that he ran a training centre at his residence, where bombs used during the blasts were assembled.
In April this year, the NIA filed a chargesheet against Imtiyaz under the IPC, the Explosive Substances Act, the UA(P) Act, the Railways Act and the CLA Act at a NIA special court in Patna.
Besides Akhtar, another key IM operative, Hyder Ali, a resident of Aurangabad in Bihar, is also believed to have stayed in Ranchi with different identities. Said to be the mastermind behind the terror attack, Ali is reportedly heading the IM after arrest of all top operatives. The NIA is on the lookout for him.