Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Chennai blasts: Jayalalithaa snubs Centre, won’t take probe help

A bomb disposal squad scans the Bangalore-Guwahati Superfast Express following the blasts on Thursday. A bomb disposal squad scans the Bangalore-Guwahati Superfast Express following the blasts on Thursday.
Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | Posted: May 2, 2014 12:24 am | Updated: May 2, 2014 5:52 pm

The J Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu has apparently snubbed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the Chennai railway station blasts by keeping it waiting for information, not furnishing details, and refusing help from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or the National Security Guard (NSG). NIA or NSG reaching a bomb blast site to investigate is usual practice.

Jayalalithaa, who is also the state home minister, has asked the Crime Branch-CID of state police to investigate. She was incidentally one of the CMs to oppose the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) when it was proposed by the Centre in 2012 saying the “MHA wanted to belittle us (state government) and treat us like pawns on a chessboard”.

Sources said when NIA contacted the state police to help in investigations they were not entertained. A senior NIA officer had to ring up MHA officials for details. The MHA received the first report about the blasts by fax only at 3.52 pm though the first blast had taken place at about 7.15 am. “After repeated reminders since morning, Director General of Police (DGP) Tamil Nadu sent a two-para note with minimal information to us. It only contains sections of the FIR and casualty details,” said a senior MHA official.

A senior NSG official, on the condition of anonymity, said a team of bomb experts had been mobilised from NSG regional hub in Hyderabad soon after news of the blasts but Tamil Nadu government did not seek assistance.

It was only on Thursday evening that NSG got clear signals from the MHA that an NIA-NSG team will reach Chennai. Home Secretary Anil Goswami Thursday said a team will be sent to Chennai. An NIA team from Kochi has already reached the blast site. “By the time we received the green signal from the ministry it was late evening. Early morning on Friday the composite team will leave for Chennai. We will have to see how much of the blast scene has been preserved… or we will coordinate with forensic experts there,” said the NSG official.

Asked about nature explosives, senior MHA officials drew a blank. TN police appears to have refused to share details. Tamil Nadu DGP (intelligence) Anoop Jaiswal told The Indian Express that “low intensity IED fitted in pipes” were suspected to have been used and it seems they were “triggered by a timer device.”

Jaiswal said the two coaches, S4 and S5 in which the blasts took place have been segregated for the probe. “The decision to hand over investigations to NIA has to be taken by the state and we have an excellent team of professionals capable of investigating the case. We have been informed that an NSG team is coming Friday. They are most welcome. As far as sending a report is concerned it continued…

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