Human Rights

NIA’s breakthrough in Modasa blast probe

New Delhi: A month after Union home minister P Chidambaram credited the NIA with a “breakthrough” in the Samjhauta Express train blast, the central probe agency has now ‘formally’ claimed to have achieved a similar “breakthrough” in the 2008 Modasa (Gujarat) blast case amid indications that both the incidents were carried out by the same group of Hindu radicals comprising members of Abhinav Bharat. Though the confessional statement of Swami Aseemanand and subsequent questioning of Bharat Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and others made it amply clear that the Modasa blast too was the handiwork of the Hindu radicals, the NIA made its conclusions only after the agency collected some corroborative evidence.

Without disclosing what it has got during investigation of the Modasa blast case, the NIA - in a brief report on its achievements during 2010 - stated achieving a “breakthrough” in the case. The report has listed out breakthroughs in both Modasa and Samjhauta blast cases as the NIA’s “significant achievements in the field of investigation”.

Sources in the agency said that the forensic and technical examination of the motorcycle used in the blast has made some substantial progress. It helped the agency zero in on certain people who were linked to members of Abhinav Bharat including the absconders Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Ashwini Chauhan, they added.

The blast in Modasa was carried out on September 29, 2008 - the day a similar incident took place in Malegaon. While one person was killed in Modasa, six persons died in the Malegaon incident. In both the blasts, the extremists had used motorcycles and similar kind of explosives.

Though the Maharashtra Police had cracked the Malegaon case quickly and arrested 11 persons including Lt Col Srikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Dayanand Pande after tracing the original owner of the used motorcycle (the Sadhvi), the Gujarat Police could not make any breakthrough in the case of Modasa. The probe was subsequently handed over to NIA in July last year.

Sources said the mystery behind the ownership of the motorcycle, used in Modasa blast, had delayed the probe. The perpetrators of the blast had meticulously erased all the numbers including the engine and chassis numbers, making it difficult to reach the real culprists, they added.

The report also said that the agency in 2010 had created a “digital repository” comprising a database on terrorists, terror organizations, cases and interrogation reports. “The total number of records available in the database is 10,380 including 4,083 interrogation reports and 407 dossiers of terrorists,” it said. (Source: Vishwa Mohan report in the Pune edition of The Times of India, Feb 9, 2011)

MG News Desk

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 11

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