No breakthrough in Delhi terror attack a week later

September 13th, 2011 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) A week after the Delhi High Court bombing, investigating agencies are still groping in the dark about the outfit responsible for the blast that killed 13 people and left over 90 injured or even the composition of the explosive - despite claims of “leads”.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is heading the probe into the case with the Delhi Police aiding it with three “special teams” comprising a total 400 personnel who have fanned out across the city to hunt for clues and suspects.

The date and place for the bombing was carefully chosen — a Wednesday, the only day in the week that is allowed for filing public suits at the court, and the venue, Gate number 5, the only gate that is allowed for such litigants to enter for gate passes.

The bombing was expected to fetch maximum casualties - and it did.

Just two hours after the blast on Sep 7, the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) outfit claimed responsibility for the terror attack by sending an email to various media houses.

A second mail was received the next day, purportedly from the Indian Mujahideen (IM), a home-grown terror outfit claiming responsibility for the attack. The mail said that HuJI had no role to play in the blast. The mail was traced to Kolkata.

A third mail was used with the domain name of Yahoo and the mail said that ‘Indian Mujahidin’ takes the responsibility of the attack and the next target will be Ahmedabad. “The place of the next attack was in code,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS. A fourth mail was also sent by Indian Mujahidin, challenging the probing agency to trace the mails. The third mail sender has been arrested from Patan in Gujarat.

NIA had formed a team of 20 and a support team of 17 officers to probe the blast.

Despite sending a team to Kishtwar in Jammu where the first mail originated and arresting the owner of a cyber cafe from where the mail was sent as well as some of the students who were present there on that day, the agency has not made any headway into finding out who sent the mail.

The composition of the bomb too remains a mystery. The agencies said that preliminary investigation revealed traces of nitrate-based pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN), a very powerful plastic explosive, and shrapnels as part of the bomb that was kept in a briefcase. “Forensic experts were summoned from Gujarat and Hyderabad to assist in the investigation and they scanned the scene of the crime again,” said Bhagat.

The Delhi Police released two sketches of suspected bombers based on eyewitness accounts.

Various people, whose faces matched the sketches, were detained in many places and their antecedents were verified. But no clue has emerged as yet. “We are still investigating,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Chand, who is heading three ’special teams’ of around 400 policemen to probe the blast case.

The NIA also detained a suspect from Uttar Pradesh. He was identified by his first name Shehzad. Sources said he resembles the sketch of one of the suspects. However, they are still in the process of verifying it.

The agency also began going through the identities of the dead and the injured to find out if the bomb planter was among the victims. But after a day they found none with ’suspicious background’.

There was also news about a car reported missing two years ago that was spotted near the site minutes before the bomb exploded. The car had been held by the traffic police for some offence and while verifying the number they found it in their records of a missing car. The car was subsequently recovered from Faridabad, leaving agencies again clueless.

Struggling for some concrete leads, the NIA also announced a reward of Rs.500,000 for anyone providing clues about suspects.

“As far as investigation is concerned, it is going on. Delhi Police and NIA are coordinating,” Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters.

Unable to find any lead so far, the NIA has sought inputs from foreign intelligence agencies’ to monitor wireless messages on the day of the blast.

At the end of the first week, there is nothing concrete to show up on cracking the bombing case.

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