NIA slaps WMD charge

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency on Friday slapped the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, 2005, against those accused for last month's blast outside the Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya.

Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also found outside the World Heritage site. The NIA has registered a case against unknown persons and is likely to take custody of two arrested Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operatives from Bengal police. The video footage obtained from the CCTVs installed at the Mahabodhi Mahavihara had hinted at the involvement of four suspects.

"We have circulated the photos of the suspects to several investigating agencies to ascertain their identities," said an NIA official.

The Act, aimed at prosecuting persons for unlawful activities relating to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems including nuclear, toxin (chemical) and bacteriological (biological) materials, provides for a minimum punishment of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment along with fine.

Last week, the NIA had formally taken over the investigation of the case from Gaya police which had initially carried out the probe. The initial investigation by police had suggested the involvement of the JMB in the January 19 incident when the Dalai Lama was in Bodhgaya. Hollywood actor Richard Gere and around 10,000 devotees were in Bodhgaya for the Dalai Lama's teachings when the explosion took place. Central agencies suspect the role of terror outfits in planting the bombs.

The bomb that went off had been planted near a generator outside the temple, around 250m from the Kalchakra grounds where the Dalai Lama had conducted a discourse.


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