Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Haider Ali has started revealing the story behind the serial blasts at the BJP’s Hunkar Rally in Gandhi Maidan on October 27 last year.
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team brought Haider Ali alias Black Beauty, 26, a native of Khiriawan village in Aurangabad district, to the blast site under tight security on Sunday morning. Haider, one of the brains behind blasts in Patna and Bodhgaya, identified the spots where bombs were planted.
The NIA has taken Haider and three others — Mujibullah Ansari, Numan Ansari and a juvenile — on police remand for interrogation in connection with the Patna blasts. They were all arrested from Ranchi and Palamu in Jharkhand and produced in the special NIA court in Patna, which allowed NIA to take them on police remand till June 6.
A police officer said on condition of anonymity that Haider showed how members of the group, Ranchi module of IM, entered the Maidan from the Ram Ghulam Chowk end. Some outfit members reached early. Others, including Imtiyaz and Enul (alias Tarique), were to reach later.
Taking advantage of lax security, they planted 18 bombs. “A powerful one was placed about 100m from the podium, just behind the area marked for the media. It was not possible to go any closer,” the officer quoted Haider as saying.
“We believed the blasts would cause a stampede-like situation as lakhs had gathered to listen to the speakers, including Narendra Modi (now Prime Minister). Modi was the outfit’s main target. The operatives placed the bombs keeping important exit points in mind,” Haider, a former member of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, purportedly told the interrogators.
However, Imtiyaz was caught after a bomb went off near a public lavatory at Patna Junction, 3-4 hours before Modi’s scheduled address. “It provided Patna police enough time to interrogate Imtiyaz, who cracked on sustained quizzing,” Haider is learnt to have told interrogators. The officer said they were ascertaining if Enul was a human bomb. He had suffered grievous head injuries in the lavatory blast and died in hospital. “Prima facie, the possibility has been ruled out,” he said.
The NIA is to visit Khiriawan village in Aurangabad with Haider. NIA had earlier attached his property. Sleuths faced residents’ wrath when they visited the village to paste a proclamation notice issued by the NIA court in Patna.