The serial blasts at Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna on October 27 last year were not meant to target the BJP’s PM candidate but to kill innocent people and cause a stampede, the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against one of the arrested accused, Imtiaz Ansari, has claimed.
The attacks were allegedly masterminded by a faction of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), led by Raipur-based Umer Siddhqui and Azharuddin Samshuddin Qureshi, to seek revenge for the 2002 Gujarat riots, the NIA probe said.
The agency, which was handed over the probe soon after the blasts at Gandhi Maidan, said investigation against six other accused, including key SIMI operative Hyder Ali, is continuing and a supplementary chargesheet will be filed against them. The agency has cited 60 witnesses and said the blasts were perpetrated by SIMI in collaboration with home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).
The NIA said they will now seek the custody of Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, recently arrested by the Delhi Police, to uncover the SIMI-IM links.
NIA claimed Siddhqui motivated youths with Ali’s help. Another SIMI sympathiser arrested by the NIA from Ranchi, Uzair Ahmad, was said to be providing financial support to the group. In its chargesheet, the NIA said traces of explosive seized from the belongings of Ansari, who was caught on the spot, matched the explosives seized from the houses of the other absconding accused. Ansari has been charged under various sections of UAPA, IPC and Explosives Substance Act.
Ansari, the only one to be chargesheeted in the case, ran a grocery shop in Sithiyo village. After his arrest, he identified Tehseen as Memmon from a photograph and alleged he was the one who trained them to make IEDs along with Ali.
The probe also stated the accused had conducted a recce of other venues where Modi was to address rallies. However, they decided to target the rally in Patna as they discovered that security was minimal there. The agency also said the group is allegedly behind the 2013 Bodh Gaya attack as well.
There were nine bombs planted at Patna Railway Station and at Modi’s ‘hunkar rally’, which resulted in six deaths and injured 85 people.