Delhi High Court blast: 48 hours on, no breakthrough in probe
September, 09th 2011
It's been almost 48 hours since a high-intensity blast occurred outside the Delhi High Court killing 13 people but investigators are yet find a breakthrough in the case. (Read: Delhi High Court blast: Death toll rises to 13) | (Pics: The face of human tragedy)
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with the Delhi Police is looking at all possible leads including two e-mails sent to various media organisations claiming responsibility for the blast.
The latest e-mail that was sent yesterday claimed that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was responsible for the attack. Sent from firstname.lastname@example.org, the mail - the authenticity of which is yet to be verified - also warned of another attack on a shopping mall on Tuesday. Referring to the attack on the High Court, the mail said the IM planned the blast on a Wednesday because it was well-known that the courthouse drew huge crowds on that day every week on account of Public Interest Litigations or PILs.
Investigators are trying to ascertain the genuineness of the email from the IM - considered an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Experts point out that in the past, the IM sent emails minutes before or after an attack they masterminded; also, their emails have traditionally been written in English and Urdu, and carried signatures of the alleged IM founders, Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.
Meanwhile, another email was received by different media organisations including NDTV soon after the terror attack on Wednesday, purportedly by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) that took ownership of the blast. The HuJI is based in Pakistan and has a huge footprint in Banglaesh. The email, according to sources, was traced to a cybercafe in Kishtwar in Jammu and Kashmir.
That the email could be a prank hasn't been ruled out by investigators, sources added.
The NIA is coordinating closely with its units in Jammu and Kashmir and the state police on this. The sources said the owner of the Kishtwar cyber cafe was questioned and is among the three people detained. They said the police were looking into the possibility that a young man about 18 years old who frequented the cyber cafe sent the mail and were confident that he would be tracked down soon. The investigators are following these leads seriously as earlier attacks by the HuJI (B) were linked to Jammu and Kashmir. Also, the HuJI has links in Kishtwar; the mastermind of the 2005 Ayodhya attack was killed there.
But sources also pointed out that militant groups operating from J&K have never used email in the past to claim responsibility.
The email, received by different media organisations including NDTV said that the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) takes responsibility for the blast: "We owe the responsibility of today's blasts at High Court Delhi...our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India."
Afzal Guru has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court for his role in the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. His mercy petition that asks for his sentence to be commuted to life is pending with President Pratibha Patil. The Home Ministry has reportedly recommended that it be rejected.
The NIA has set up a special 20-member team to investigate the Delhi High Court blast. A unit was present at the blast site on Thursday morning to look for any credible evidence to take the investigations forward. A minor explosion had taken place at almost the same spot outside the Delhi High Court on May 25 this year, but it did not cause any injury. Intelligence agencies now say this was a dry run or rehearsal for Wednesday's attack. The May incident has also been handed over the NIA to investigate now.
Home Secretary RK Singh said on Thursday that the NIA and Delhi Police were working closely on the case. He said reports of a car connected to the blast being traced in Faridabad were incorrect. The NIA, he said, had announced an award of Rs. 5 lakh for information that would further investigations. Mr Singh also announced that a specialized desk had been set up at the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, where most of the victims were taken, for coordination between the hospital and specialized doctors
The explosion took place on Wednesday in the reception area at Gate No 5, where hundreds of people had gathered to collect passes needed to enter the courthouse. The bomb, kept in a briefcase that was placed at the counter, was so powerful that it drove a huge crater into the ground. The police have released two sketches of the man who eyewitnesses say placed the bomb. But the details are extremely vague. In fact, according to the police, based on the rather varied descriptions, the man could be between 25 to 50 years old, light-skinned, bearded, and thin or stout. (See sketches of the suspect)