CHENNAI, 2 May-2014, A Selvaraj & Karthick S,(TNN): Police investigating the twin blasts at Chennai Central on Thursday are looking at the possible involvement of Indian Mujahideen and Al-Umma in the attack. So far, the special investigation division of CB-CID, which has been entrusted with the probe, has not come across any passenger with terror links and nobody has been arrested. After scanning video footage at the station, police have concluded that the bombs may have been planted before the Bangalore-Guwahati Express reached Chennai.
The nature of the bombs — low-intensity IEDs — suggest it could be the handiwork of local jihadis, said an officer involved in the investigation. “Both the bombs went off simultaneously. The bomb detection and disposal squad has confirmed the use of timer devices, which raises suspicion that the bombs were timed to go off when the train was passing through coastal Andhra Pradesh, where BJP leader Narendra Modi addressed public meetings on Thursday. Since the train was running 90 minutes behind schedule, the explosions took place while it was in Chennai,” he said. “We have found ammonium nitrate, nitrotoluene and traces of sulphur in the samples we collected,” said another officer.
Al-Umma used similar bombs in the 1998 serial bomb blasts in Coimbatore and attacks on BJP and RSS leaders across the state in the last three years, he said. While police nabbed three Al-Umma operatives — ‘Police’ Fakruddin, Bilal Malik and Panna Ismail -from Chennai and Andhra Pradesh in October last year, their accomplice Abubaker Siddiqui is absconding. Police say the same gang was involved in plating a pipe bomb under a culvert near Madurai along BJP leader LK Advani’s route in 2011. Siddiqui could have roped in new members in recent months, police believe.
The fact that no outfit has claimed responsibility for the blasts is intriguing, said an official. It gives credence to the suspicion that it could be the handiwork of local groups, said a central intelligence official.
“Normally, IM owns up to such attacks if it is involved,” he said. “As of now it is a blind case. The involvement of IM or local jihadi groups cannot be ruled out. But IM is known to use high-intensity explosives like RDX. So the suspicion is more on outfits like Al-Umma,” said R K Raghavan, former director of CBI. But in recent times, there have been low-intensity IED blasts in north India which were blamed on India. And, there are a lot of similarities — like the chemicals and use of timers — between Chennai blasts and the serial blasts that took place at the Gandhi Maidan at Patna just before Modi’s public meeting in October last year. Agencies are also not ruling out the involvement of ISI.
The arrest of Sakir Hussain, a Sri Lankan Tamil with ISI links, in Chennai on Tuesday and intelligence inputs that the Pakistani agency was planning a series of attacks in south India in mid-April are being followed up. “We are trying to find out Hussain’s links in Tamil Nadu,” said an official in state intelligence.
(Input source: TNN)