| People at Gandhi Maidan at the time of the Hunkar Rally blasts |
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday submitted a chargesheet against alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives Imtiyaz Ansari and Tabish Niyaz in connection with the October 27 Gandhi Maidan blasts.
The chargesheet was submitted in the NIA designate court in Patna. Reliable sources said a separate chargesheet would be filed against the alleged outfit’s country operational head Tahseen alias Monu.
While Imtiyaz and Tabish are lodged in Patna’s Beur Central Jail, Tahseen is still at large. The investigating agency is learnt to have provided evidence of a conversation between Tahseen and some top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leaders hiding in Pakistan.
“The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s involvement in a string of blasts at the Patna rally can’t be ruled out,” the chargesheet said. During investigations it surfaced that Tahseen, a native of Samastipur in north Bihar, was carrying out terror strikes in different parts of the country at the behest of LeT and al Qaida. The two terror outfits provided funds to the IM’s operational head for carrying out such attacks, the chargesheet reportedly said.
Haider Ali, a native of Aurangabad district in south and central Bihar, was closely associated with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Both Haider and Tahseen were in constant touch with each other before the serial blasts, which left eight persons, including seven civilians and a terror suspect, dead and over 80 others injured.
Sources claimed video clips of the interrogation of the two arrested accused — Imtiyaz and Tabish — have been submitted to the NIA designate court in Patna to substantiate the accusations against them. During initial quizzing the two admitted to their involvement in the blasts.
Imtiyaz was taken into custody soon after a bomb went off inside a public lavatory at Patna Junction on the morning of October 27 last year, hours before serial blasts rocked the venue of the Hunkar Rally, addressed by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Tahseen’s close aide Tabish alias Arshad was arrested from Alaula village in East Champaran district on October 30, 2013.
According to information gathered by the probe agency, all operatives were supposed to gather at Tabish’s native village and, from there, sneak into Nepal. Champaran is close to the porous Indo-Nepal border. Prior to the blasts, IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his close associate, Asadullah, were arrested from Raxaul in East Champaran district in August last year. The entire plan went haywire following Imtiyaz and Ainul’s arrest from Patna Junction.
Ainul, a native of Ranchi in Jharkhand, was seriously injured in the blast at Patna Junction and later succumbed to injuries. His parent refused to claim his body and it was later cremated under tight security.
The chargesheet claimed Tahseen was assigned by al Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders to recruit youths from north Bihar region to carry out terror strikes across the country.
The NIA has already announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for the arrest of Tahseen.
A separate FIR in connection with the blast was lodged with the Gandhi Maidan police station.