New Delhi, Sep 3: The explosives used in the Delhi serial blasts of 2008 were procured from Udupi in Karnataka and the bombs were prepared at the Batla House in Delhi.
The communal riots in Gujarat and Maharashtra which made the resolve of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal take up terrorism. Jundal who used this alias during a terror operation was born to an insurance agent on November 13 1981.
He was a normal student and had even joined the Indian Technical Institute in the Beed district of Maharashtra. His dossier says that he never showed any signs of being radical all through his teens. However the change began to take place when he witnessed the riots in Maharashtra. The year the Gujarat riots took place, he decided that he had to make a difference after which he joined the Students Islamic Movement of India which had by then shown signs of turning radical (only a part of it).
During his earlier days with SIMI, he was in charge of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and often shuttled between these two states. He organised several camps in both these states and it was later in the year 2003-04 that he was sent to Pakistan to train with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The transition into the Lashkar took place after a meeting with Rahil Sheikh, whose name figures prominently in the 2006 train bombings. Jundal who was attracted to the concept of Jihad bit the bait and left to train in Pakistan.
On his return to India, he was left to handle operations of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and he used the very same camps that he set up with the SIMI to carry forward the activities of the Lashkar. The manner in which he went about his job soon caught the eye of the Lashkar top bosses and from an ordinary foot soldier he had become a trusted operative for the dreaded outfit.
The initial operation thrown up to him was more of a dry run to be carried out in Maharashtra. It was at this time that a major haul of arms and ammunition was seized in Aurangabad. Although 12 of his accomplices were nabbed, he managed to give the slip. The intelligence bureau however believes that a large part of the cache of arms was not seized and this could have been used during the 2006 train blasts. While the train blasts were executed to perfection Jundal however was not present in the country at that time as he had left for Pakistan already.
What made Jundal stand out was the manner in which he was able to both raise funds and recruit cadres into the Lashkar. For a long time the Maharashtra module of the Lashkar was the strongest and this was largely thanks to this man who today is in India’s custody.
Over the years he also donned a bigger role and started recruiting cadres within Pakistan and also sending them to fight alongside the Lashkar in Kashmir. He even stayed in Kashmir for sometime after 2006 and handled operations over there. The Lashkar did realise the talent this man possessed and hence kept changing his base on and off so that the Indian agencies did not get a lurking doubt on what he was up to exactly.
In the year 2008, his name cropped up during the Delhi blasts which was carried out by the Indian Mujahideen. He is said to have provided support to the foot soldiers and using his skills in guiding attacks he managed to get those blasts executed. He was specifically asked to over look this operation as a Delhi blast meant a lot for the IM which was setting its foot hold in India.
However his biggest assignment came in the form of the 26/11 attack. It was during this time that he met with Hafiz Saeed and as per the preliminary investigations he was given a specific role about the attack. He was asked to identify a good target which would send a loud message to the international community and it was then that he suggested Nariman House as a target which was of course later surveyed by David Headley.
He played two roles during the attack. One he familiarised the terrorists to converse in Hindi and he instructed them to always say that they were from Toli Chowki Hyderabad in case they were caught. The other role was to guide the attackers at the Nariman House asking them to make various demands through the media which also included breaking of ties with Israel. Even while guiding the attackers he started off by saying that this is just a trailer and the real movie is yet to begin. Further there were words such as gathbandan (alliance), karenga (to do something) and prashasan (administration) which were used.
After the attack on 26/11, he was asked to lie low and remained in Pakistan. The fact that the Indian agencies remained clueless about his whereabouts and were not able to pin point his exact role in the attack gave him the hope that he could move out of Pakistan. He was then sent to Saudi Arabia. There are conflicting reports as to what he was doing there, but the general belief is that he was there to collect funds and was planning a major operation.
The Indian agencies had however got wind of his movement into Saudi Arabia through connections in Saudi, Nepal and also some intercepts from the United States of America. They watched his movements closely for several weeks and it was finally Saudi Arabia which picked him up and handed him over to the Indian agencies.
The interrogation of Hamza will revolve mainly around the 26/11 attack. The role played by Saeed, others in the establishment will all be questioning points during the interrogation. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that he is an important catch and we need to ascertain the lengths he has gone up to spread terror in India. However for Pakistan it is a worrying development. The establishment in Pakistan were aware of some operation leading up to Jundal a couple of days back and had even tried to prevent an extradition from Saudi. However the Saudi regime was very clear that it did not want to entertain any terrorists on its soil and they have a zero policy towards terrorism. This is what went in India’s favour finally.
The probe into the Delhi blasts appears to be the most confusing one till date. Is it the Indian Mujahideen, the Hizbul Mujahideen or the Harkat-ul-Jihadi which has undertaken this blast? The most recent arrest of Dr Wasim and his interrogation go on to show that he has some links to the Hizbul Mujahideen, a terrorist organisation which is very active in the Jammu and Kashmir area.
While the confusion remains regarding the organisation that has carried out this blast, there is one thing that has been zeroed in and that is the operation which was carried out from Kashmir was controlled from Bangladesh. Most of the terrorist strikes on Indian soil are usually remote controlled from Pakistan. However in the case of the Delhi blast, it is clear that certain elements in Bangladesh had controlled this operation.
This is precisely what has made this probe extremely confusing. Going by the various intercepts and dossiers on all these outfits, it becomes clear that the HuJI has a bigger presence in Bangladesh when compared to the Hizbul Mujahideen. If one tends to stick to the basics then it is a clear cut HuJI operation controlled out of Bangladesh. Intelligence Bureau officials however do not rule out the possibility of various elements from different outfits coming together to carry out these blasts. Although a probe team will seek the help of Bangladesh for more details on this case, more angles internally would be looked into.
NIA sources say they are piecing together the details and would require more time to crack down on the case. There has been a mail from the Indian Mujahideen and also the HuJI after the blasts. At the moment it does not appear as though any dedicated organisation carried out the attack, but what we see is the coming together of several youth to carry out this strike. There has been a deliberate ploy to mislead the investigators and hence there have been so many mails. Moreover each of the youth during their questioning has given out different names of the outfits which has made this probe even tougher. The mail was sent out by the HuJi first and then the IM claimed responsibility. Further it came to light that the man who planted the bomb belonged to the HM.
The investigators have questioned several cadres of the Hizbul Mujahideen. They have even questioned a youth by the name Azhar Ali who belongs to the same outfit. However from Ali the NIA did not get much information and only realised that he is a recruiter for the HM who picks up youth for the Kashmir battle. They also questioned a youth by the name Abid but have not got much details from him barring the fact that he had something to do with the mail that was sent out in the name of the HuJI after the blasts.
At the moment it appears as though there is a dead end to the probe. There would be very heavy reliance on the information that the agency would get from Bangladesh. There is a request that has been sent seeking more details about the operations of both the HM and the HuJI over there.
During the interrogation of Dr Wasim there is really nothing much the probe agencies have been able to pick up. His father has been crying foul and even went on to say that his son had met the NIA only to coopearate with the investigation. He never expected that he would be made an accused in the case. Moreover the questioning of Dr Wasim and Abid Hussain also in the NIA custody has more details regarding the creation of the email than the actual blast that took place.
However it appears that the NIA is taking a long shot with the help of Dr Wasim to get to his brother Junaid Malik who has traces of the HM association. According to the investigators it was Junaid who was present in Delhi and may be the one who planted the bomb. There are three men that the NIA is looking out for at the moment and they feel that they would be able to provide more leads into the case. Junaid Malik appears to be a key person in this probe since the NIA feels that he is the one who planted the bomb at Delhi. They are also looking for Amir Kamaal who was with Junaid on the day the blast took place. Jahangir Saroori is also another person on the NIA radar.
Interestingly all these men are from the Hizbul Mujahideen and according to investigators each one had a very vital role to play in this attack. The probe so far shows that Amir had carried the explosives to Delhi while Junaid planted the same. As far as Jahangir is concerned he is the one who procured the explosives according to the investigations. Amir is said to be an area commander of the HM while the other two are commanders for the HM.
While this part of the probe is being looked into by the NIA, the Intelligence Bureau is closely looking into the movement of HM operatives. The HM has all these years restricted its fight to Kashmir and has not really looked at carrying out attacks in other Indian cities like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or the Indian Mujahideen. There is a fixed pattern in the manner in which these outfits carry out terror strikes and hence we feel that it must be an operation that was carried out with the coming together of a couple of youth. This is exactly why there is no proper intercept on this incident because if it were to be a full fledged HM operation then there would have been proper traces leading up to the outfit. However we are looking into it, the IB also pointed out.
Has the National Investigating Agency got their man? The premier agency set up to probe incidents of terrorism in India has picked up a youth by the name Waseem Akram Malik while he was on his way to Dhaka and are currently questioning him regarding his alleged involvement in the Delhi High Court blast case which occurred last month.
In the past one and half years, the nation witnessed three attacks-Varanasi, 13/7 and theDelhiblasts. For quite sometime now the investigators have been clueless about the attackers and today gradually small leads are trickling in. Investigators are closing in on the Bullet 313, a group within the Indian Mujahideen which could have carried these attacks.
Post 13/7, the name of the Bullet 313 had come up very briefly. The name of this outfit was picked up based on intercepts and the interrogation of a couple of Indian Mujahideen operatives who are in custody in various parts of the country.
The Indian Mujahideen story is nothing new and everyone is aware of how the group had risen and also fallen. However since the past two years there have been very slow attempts to revive the outfit and the group has been working on some small level operators who have come together to form the Bullet 313. A name that is inspired from the Al-Qaeda’s 313 brigade, this group was basically created to carry out attacks inIndiaunder a new banner. Earlier there were communications which did indicate that the IM was planning something on the terror front. However this time around there was no mention of the name of this new outfit and the communication between the operatives on email or phone was nil. This had made investigators run around in circles and this only helped these operatives carry out their business.
Today the Bullet 313 is a force that is growing and could turn into a big headache if not curbed. It was carefully set up and the name of the new outfit was intentionally not revealed. Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that they wanted a slight change in their strategy and did not want too much publicity about the new name since they wanted to set up a strong outfit. This outfit was set up one year back and it was decided that all new operations on Indian soil shall be undertaken in this name.
Take the interrogation of the various IM operatives in the country which were conducted after theVaranasiblasts. The investigators did realise after theVaranasiblasts that this had marked the return of the Indian Mujahideen, but the newer pattern that was being used was something that had foxed them.
Under the Bullet 313 a lot of usual traits of the IM were not witnessed. There plans were not extensive and the operations were on a smaller scale. People chosen for the job had no history in police records and the use of technology was almost zero. Most importantly the brazen mails were also missing after the attacks. Fora quite sometime the police had no clue about this group and who had even carried out the attack. Then came the 13/7 blast which was a slightly bigger operation compared to theVaranasiattack. Then came theDelhiblast which in fact for the first time in the three attacks showed signs that it was an IM like operation. A mail was sent out, but the intention was more to confuse the investigators leading them to believe it was the Harkat-ul-Jihadi which had carried out the blast.
By the time theDelhiblast occurred the police had a fair idea as to who exactly were carrying out these attacks. The mail after theDelhiattack was an intentional ploy to distract the investigators.
As per the preliminary investigation reports pertaining to all the three blasts mentioned above, the new group Bullet 313 was set up inDelhiitself. A couple of disgruntled youth in the Old city ofDelhihad set this up. Today the Bullet 313 has its strong wings in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. It is on a much smaller scale compared to the IM, but if left alone could grow into another headache. Moreover the formation of the Bullet 313 is keeping in tandem the tradition of creating new names every time a ban is round the corner. The Students Islamic Movement of India had just before the ban formed a radical side to it which later went on to become the Indian Mujahideen. The case of the IM is the same. After the crack down and just when a ban was round the corner it formed the Bullet 313. Terror groups do this very often to keep the heat off themselves. Today the Bullet 313 has approximately 500 members and the entire network works on a word to mouth. As mentioned earlier the use of communication even through phones is very minimal. They have also relied very less on the use of foreign funds and kept the number of cadres and modules also to a bear minimal. The basic idea was not to carry out large scale attacks, but to keep causing an irritation to the establishment with smaller attacks. They also did realise that carrying out very large attacks needed major planning and there was every chance of getting busted if they did so. Smaller attacks needed a maximum of four persons and they could have communicated personally and carried out the attack and this exactly is what we are witnessing today.
Over the past couple of months the police have been interrogating several operatives of the IM and each of them has spoken about how the outfit has been trying to regroup. Be it Danish Riyaz or Salman alias Chotu each one has been telling the police that some youth had been planning on staging a come back. However none of them even spoke about the name of the outfit which ultimately turned out to be the Bullet 313. Riyaz even went up to the extent of telling the police that he had recruited around 30 new cadres for the outfit. However Riyaz also went on to confuse the investigators by saying that certain attempts to regroup had been made, but due to the lack of funds they had to shelve the plans. The police were misled by this statement of Riyaz and this proved fatal since what followed wasVaranasi, 13/7 andDelhi.
The National Investigating Agency which is being kept busy with the probe into the Delhi blasts has now been taking a close look at the blast at Agra which took place on Saturday.
A day after the attack four persons were detained and questioned. The police however have not managed to get much out of them, but today continue to look into smaller modules which could have possibly carried out such an attack.
Although Agra has been a terror target since it is a tourist attraction, the police have not really been able to find any proper activity by fringe groups till date. According to the police there are some small cells in this region, but they have mostly found them to be self motivated. There are spill over factions from Delhi and Old Delhi which are working in Agra and they are not capable of carrying out big attacks. However these modules can be irritants and are capable of carrying out such small time attacks only to create diversions.
Sources in the NIA say that they would want to look at the Agra blast along with the Delhi blasts and see if there was any connection. There is nothing conclusive at the moment to show that it was an act of terror, but when you read this attack with the recent intelligence warning regarding Agra, it is an angle that we would want to explore.
The intelligence warning which was sounded in respect of Agra spoke about an attack on tourist places. Further it was also said that some youth from Delhi who are still upset with the Batla House encounter are forming smaller groups to carry out such strikes. Hospitals have always been soft targets and it is probably the easiest place to sneak a bomb into. There is a lot of activity and one can see that even in bigger places security at hospitals is very low. Moreover the Indian Mujahideen has carried out an attack in a hospital during the Ahmedabad blasts.
The investigations meanwhile are progressing into the Agra blasts. The preliminary report regarding the explosives have shown that there was a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulphur and charcoal and the same was packed with sharp objects in a cylindrical object. An IED was used to trigger the bomb with a nine volt battery.
Investigating agencies say that they have however found no connection between the Delhi and Agra blasts. Although it is suspected that it was carried out to confuse investigators, there is no direct link that has been found. However if the NIA says it is the HuJI which has carried out the Delhi blasts, it is not necessary that a module of the HuJi necessarily had to carry out a blast in Agra to divert investigators. Terror modules of different groups do not necessarily intereact with each other, but they do understand each others interests and can act on behalf of one another in times of need. This could have been the case in the Agra blasts and an angle that investigators are exploring. Terror groups do realize that some inroads are being made in the Delhi blasts and the NIA has even taken the probe down south. They are planning on questioning some operatives in Kerala which include T Nasir the accused in the Bangalore blasts case. Although there may not be any direct link with the Delhi blasts, it would help the NIA understand the formation of the HuJI in India better, NIA sources also said.
Moments after the blast at Agra a general alert has been sounded by the Intelligence Bureau. The police across the country have been advised not to let their guard down since terror groups are likely to be carrying out blasts in a specific pattern.
An alert was already in place after the Delhi blasts and the entire nation was on high alert.
The alert says that some elements could carry out attacks on low security areas and also places which are not on the radar. There is a pattern being noticed since the 13/7 blasts and some groups could take advantage of the volatile situation to strike at some places.
The National Investigating Agency has claimed that it has almost cracked the Delhi blasts case. It is now ascertained that it was an operation planned in the Kishtwar region of Jammu and Kashmir.
However the big question is whether this case is that simple. The angle which both the NIA and the IB would be looking to probe now is whether this new network in Kashmir has a connection with other networks across the country.
The primary issue that has been noticed is that a lot of the funds that are being generated for terror related operations have stopped being generated by the Northern part of the country. There is a great deal of funding that can be witnessed from down South and of the 45 strong cases of money laundering for terror operations, nearly 25 are from South.
Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that it has been noticed that a large part of the money for operations in the Valley are coming in from states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The Kashmir network is very heavily dependant on the funds from Kerala and what is worse is that it has become an extremely easy channel for terror operatives.
The interrogations that are being conducted into the Delhi blasts is expected to provide an answer to this and that would soon become a focal point of the investigations. A senior police official from Kerala confirms that there is a request from both the IB as well the NIA to provide more details about the networks in the state which are linked to Kashmir. We have conducted our own investigations and have found on more than many ocassions a direct link between the state and the Valley.
The Kerala-Kashmir link was set up at the insistence of Ilyas Kashmiri who had a year back announced openly that he would train a lot of cadres from the Southern state. The statement was just an indication about the role Kashmiri who is also the HuJI boss wanted the cadres from Kerala to play. The ISI and also the HuJI understands the potential in Kerala for two reasons. The first one of course is that it is a hub for Hawala transactions and a lot of that money can be transferred to terror operations. Secondly there is a volatile environment in this state and it is easier to pick up recruits. There is also another aspect to this entire saga and that is there are several youth who do not require any sort of motivation from external forces. There are several self motivated youth who feel strongly about several issues and are ready to carry out operations on their own.
Today when one looks at the terror networks in Kerala it becomes clear that there is no proper organization and command. What the HuJI is trying to do is to bring them all under one forum so that a formidable force is prepared.
Two years back there was an interesting incident emerging out of Kerala which showed signs of the link to the Valley. During a gun battle in the Valley with hardcore terror cadres, it was found that seven of them were from Kerala. This was probably for the first time that Indians were engaged in a fidayeen battle in the Valley and this made the entire country sit up and take notice. During the probe it was also found that several 100 youth from Kerala had gone missing and could have possibly been taken in by Jihadist groups fighting in Kashmir.
As the investigations progressed there were more leads that emerged and a probe which was also conducted by the Bangalore police also led to the arrest of a key operative by the name Sarfaraz Nawaz. This person was brought in from Muscat and it was found that he was a key operative who reported to a module in Kerala. During the probe he also told his interrogators that there was a constant effort being made to set up a proper channel between Kerala and Kashmir.
Today when the investigations into the Delhi blasts are being conducted, the team feels that it should dig deeper into the Kerala network since it has a direct Kashmir connection. What they are tying to look into is whether a module from Kerala helped carry out this attack. They are also trying to find out how much of the funds sourced from Kerala for activities in the Valley were used for this blast. It would also be interesting for the investigators to find out if there is a dedicated channel in Kerala which is helping setting up a huge HuJI base in Kashmir.
The HuJI according to intelligence reports has been trying to make inroads in the Valley. Ever since the big boss Kashmiri made the statement regarding a fight in Kashmir, there has been a lot of effort on part of these cadres to set up a network. While it may have been tough for them to recruit cadres from other parts of the country, they did find it relatively easy to pick up cadres from Kerala.
For this the investigators would revisit the statements given by Nawaz and also T Nasir since these men have spoken about how they were trying to select cadres for operations in Kashmir. What becomes clear is that the HuJI has not only been looking to set up a proper base in Kashmir, but also create smaller groups so that it can carry out terror activities in other parts of the countries.
It needs to be curbed says an officer with the IB. The Kerala to Kashmir route is something that can turn out to be a big headache and it is very important to understand and crack this soon. This would also require a lot of help from countries such as Oman since a major part of the Kerala module which takes care of the funding is settled there. The Oman link the Saudi connection will all come into play during the investigation since investigators today believe that the Delhi blasts is just a pointer of things to come and it is important that it is curbed before it becomes a headache that none can cure.
“… Here we are back – the Mujahideen of India – the terrorists on the disbelievers – the radicals of Islam – after our triumphant and successful assault at Jaipur, once again calling you all, who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad to accept Islam and bear witness that there is none to be worshipped except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Accept Islam and save yourselves.
This is just one of the mails that was sent out by the Indian Mujahideen prior to the deadly Gujarat blasts which wrecked havoc. Today the Indian Mujahideen, probably one of India’s deadliest home grown terror outfit has been banned and sanctions slapped by the United States of America. It has today been designated as a foreign terror outfit since it maintains close links with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistan based outfits.
The Indian Mujahideen was designed in a manner to carry out attacks on Indian soil and more importantly all its cadres were of Indian origin. It was a perfect ploy by the ISI to ensure that terror attacks continued unabated in India without a finger being pointed at Pakistan. Today Indian Intelligence agencies and other police wings welcome the decision by the US to designate the IM as a foreign terror outfit. It is an extremely important decision since today the top leadership of the IM is not in India. Riyaz Bhatkal, Yaseen Bhatkal, Amir Reza Khan(only one of Pakistan origin), Abdus Subhan, Assadullah Akthar and a few others are all out of the country. The Indian agencies were finding it extremely difficult to apprehend these persons thanks to international laws and today with the US slapping sanctions, the job becomes easier. There are a large number of the IM operatives who are settled in the Gulf and this move by the US would make it easier to bring them down to India. However a concern that would always remain is regarding some of the cadres who are at Pakistan and no international law is good enough when it comes to dealing with that country, IB officials point out.
The US move has also given Indian agencies another reason to smile about. Although the ISI had been claiming that the IM is an outfit born and brought up in India, the US order also makes it clear that this outfit has direct links with the Lashkar. This only vindicates India’s stand that any act of terror in India has the blessings of Pakistan based outfits.
The Inception: It is a well known fact that the Indian Mujahideen is just an off shoot of the banned Student’s Islamic Movement of India. In fact it could be termed as the radical SIMI. Almost the entire leadership were part of the SIMI at one point in time. Abdus Subhan himself was a magazine editor when he was in SIMI. Riyaz too was connected with the SIMI as an activist before he decided to become part of the core committee of the IM. The first time that the IM came to the limelight was during the court blasts at Uttar Pradesh in 2007. Although a mail was sent out claiming responsibility for the attacks, no one really took the IM seriously. However what followed was a spate of attacks later. The Jaipur bombings of 2008 is when the IM actually made its entry into the big world of terror. A chilling mail which was sent out after the attack is what made everyone sit up and take notice of this outfit.
After this there were a series of attacks and the infamous operation Bangalore Ahmedabad Delhi or Operation BAD was carried out. The mails that were sent out following those attacks only went to show the kind of arrogance that this group operated with. In fact the mails were more of a challenge and the mail during the Ahmedabad blasts was sent out five minutes prior to the blast. Some in the IB says that it is this arrogance which did them in finally and today they find themselves on a very weak footing.
Acts of terror:
Uttar Pradesh court blasts of 2007 November
Jaipur bombing of May 2008
Bangalore serial blasts on July 25 2008
Ahmedabad bombings on July 26 2008
Delhi bombings of 13 September 2008
Pune bombings of 2010
Jama Masjid Attack of 2010
Varanasi bombing of 2011
The 13/7 blasts (yet to be verified by the police)
Bombay serial blasts-2008
Amir Reza Khan of Pakistan who is the only non Indian in the outfit is considered to be the founder of the group. Originally from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he was a faithful commander and was later handed over the responsibility of setting up this outfit.
Safdar Nagori is another man associated with this outfit. Although he is credited with establishing the radical SIMI, it is said that larger plan hatched by him was to be part of the IM. However before the outfit could take shape he was arrested.
Riyaz Bhatkal who is still elusive was one of the key members of the organization. Hailing from the coastal Bhatkal town he is said to be one of the first members of the outfit. Today however there is a lurking doubt whether he is alive or not. Although some gangster had claimed to have eliminated him, there is absolutely no confirmation what so ever regarding his death.
Abdus Subhan who was originally a magazine editor in the SIMI became a central figure of the outfit. He is said to have set up the technical cell of the IM which eventually hacked into un secured wifi networks and sent out mails. Although those who knew him say way too much has been made out of his capabilities, Indian agencies believe that he is a crucial character in the outfit. Today Subhan is said to be hiding in Pakistan.
Mansoor Peerbhouy is today under arrest. He however could be credited with setting up the technical wing under the guidance of Subhan. A techie who worked with several reputed companies, he in fact after his arrest gave the police all the answers regarding the manner in which the IM mailing system worked.
Basically what the IM did was irk the police no end. All their mails and communication always took a dig at the police and the slogan was clear, “ catch us if you can.” The police did raise the bar and if one notices the manner in which the IM has been handled in the past two years one could say that they were hunted down. The real turning point was however the Batla House encounter. In a major battle between the Delhi police and some boys alleged to be IM members, it was the police who had the final say. However there is a great deal of controversy surrounding this encounter and many cry foul stating that it was fake. While this was the downfall of the IM some feel that this could be one of the biggest excuses on which they would plot their come back as well.
This is something that has been worrying agencies no end. There has been a slump for the moment, but the fact that the top leadership is still elusive gives out worrying signals. The recruitment drive as of now is very slow. It is hard to say whether this is the correct picture or is it just a ploy to keep the heat at bay. Very slow movement has been witnessed especially in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi and also Pune. Although there is nothing significant the police are not taking chances. There are still several members who are out straying and they have been coming together and carrying out smaller attacks. In addition to this there are also several intercepts to show that the top leadership is very much in touch with groups such as the Lashkar and are planning a come back. It may not happen anytime soon, but they will surely make an attempt, a police officer said.
Who planted the bomb at the Delhi High Court. Investigators today say everyone is a suspect. The Indian Mujahideen, the Students Islamic Movement of India, the Harkat-ul-Jihadi- the role of all these outfits are being probed.
There is a lot that is at stake for the National Investigating Agency in particular which has taken the lead in probing this case. While one could say that the David Headely angle to the 26/11 probe was their biggest assignment till date, it could also be argued that most of the leads in that case were provided by the United States of America. However in the Delhi blasts case the NIA had to start from scratch and moreover they have to constantly deal with multiple agencies in order to carry on with this probe.
Today there are almost 500 police personnel looking into the Delhi blasts case. A source in the National Investigating Agency says that they are making a headway into the probe, but it is still too early to pin point as to who carried out the attack.
What has put the probe agencies on the back foot today is that they are still unable to find a motive behind the blast. The Indian Mujahideen, the Students Islamic Movement of India, the Harkat-ul-Jihadi- all these outfits are very capable of carrying out an attack, but the question is why would they do it? The Students Islamic Movement of India in particular may try its best to avoid a blast outside the judiciary since they are battling a case seeking a lifting of the ban. The Indian Mujahideen on the other hand has been trying to get back into the picture, but the fact is that they are really not up to it at the moment. Would they want the heat on them when they are trying to regroup is the question that is being asked. The HuJI on the other hand does appear to have a motive and have announced in a big way their India operations. However would they carry out an attack on a smaller scale and increase the heat on them is also another question.
Soures both in the NIA as well as the Intelligence Bureau are of the opinion that not always is it necessary to look at a motive behind such attacks. At the moment how we see it is that is for sure a distraction tactic, but then again the question arises who would want to distract what. Hence these probe agencies are also looking into a political motive behind the blast, because the fact remains that a lot of other contreversies surrounding various politicians had been diverted after the Delhi blasts. Right from the Varanasi blast there has been a pattern and such attacks have always managed to divert a crisis for a bit of time. We are not saying that this could be the angle to it, but it is also being explored the investigation team points out.
A source in the IB says that it would be too early and unfair to say that the police are groping in the dark. It does take time for them to find clues and they are studying the pattern since the Varanasi blast. The fact however remains that the Varanasi blasts, the 13/7 attack and now the Delhi blasts continue to be unsolved mysteries. While conducting the investigations into all these three attacks what they have realized is that the modules of terror are asleep at the moment. There is no sign to show that any of these modules had been activated during these periods. Locally the police have not been able to find a direct link into any of these blasts. There have just been a spate of arrests till date on suspicion, but without exaggerating facts nothing really has come out from any of these arrests.
While no leads seem to appear there is also a lot of confusion till date regarding the substances used in the Delhi bomb. The forensic teams have given contradicting versions of the subtances and the fact is that they are finding it hard to trace the PETN which was initially suspected to be used in the bomb. However the the investigating team have sent it for another round of sampling since it is hard to trace PETN which takes a plastic form when used in a bomb. Investigating agencies meanwhile are working on the possible leads they could get from whatever material has been found in the bomb. They are trying to track the sourcing of the PETN and also the ammonium nitrate that has been used in the bomb.
The other aspect that is being studied is the finances used for this blast. Overall it appears that it was an operation which could not have cost more than Rs 30000. Take for instance the Bangalore serial blasts which had over 9 bombs in it. In the words of the prime accused T Nasir this entire operation cost him just Rs 40000. Hence this is not big money and could have been sourced locally also, the police believe.
Investigating agencies are also looking for some leads outside the country and are in touch with their counterparts especially in the Gulf. Investigators believe that some of the operatives of both the SIMI and the IM are holed up in these countries. Right from the days of the Varanasi blasts they have been trying to track IM operative Assadullah Akthar, but have not got much success. There is also a look out notice against 13 other IM operatives who have gone missing in the past two years.
In addition to this the Indian IB is in touch with the various other intelligence agencies of both the US and also Russia and are trying to pick up leads on whether there was any movement of terrorists internationally in connection with this blast.
Security experts say that it is essential that these series of blasts right from Varanasi are solved since it is important for the security of the nation. A senior police official from Maharashtra pointed out that the intelligence gathering on the ground is very weak. It is not sufficient to look for larger leads. The movement is taking place on the ground and the fact that no suspicious movement had been reported goes on to show that the sources on the ground are not strong enough. There is no clarity at all today and this gives terror outfits an advantage today and this would tempt them to carry out more such attacks since they realize that the system is weak. There is a need for collective intelligence and the sharing of the same between states apart from strenghthening local intelligence in order to curb such activities, the official also pointed out.