The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun its probe into the 2014 bomb blast and escape of six SIMI operatives in Bijnor on September 12. The state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Bijnor police had been investigating the case so far and had arrested five locals, including a woman, for allegedly providing shelter and logistical support to the SIMI men who were assembling the bomb when it went off.
The NIA team, led by DIG Anil Shukla, is camping in Bijnor and had on Thursday searched the two houses where the SIMI operatives were staying on rent. Two of them were killed in a police encounter in Telangana last month. The agency has also questioned medical practitioner Dr Shahzad Ahmed Shamsi who had allegedly treated one of the SIMI operatives, Shaikh Mehboo, who had suffered burn injuries in the blast.
“We have started the investigation but UP Police, which was investigating the case, is yet to hand over all documents,” said a senior NIA officer.
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About two weeks ago, the state government had sent its consent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ demand, stating that they have no objection over transferring the investigation to the NIA.
Deputy SP R K Singh has been assigned the investigation while ASP Jalaj Srivastava will be the supervising officer.
On Thursday, the NIA team which has set up its office in an old government building in Mandawara area, also met senior officials of the district administration and the police.
“We have searched the two places where the SIMI men were staying in Bijnor. Nothing substantial has been found,” claimed an NIA officer.
Earlier, six cases were registered into the blast and the escape of the SIMI operatives. While the Bijnor police were investigating four cases, UP ATS had taken charge of two. The five arrested in the case include Husna, her brother Nadeem, Rahees, his son Abdulla and Furkan. The police had also cash amounting to nearly Rs 9 lakh from their possession which was allegedly given to them by the SIMI men in lieu of the support. All are lodged in Bijnor jail since October and chargesheets have been filed in all six cases.
“We will be questioning the family members of these arrested persons about their role and connection with the absconding SIMI operatives,” said an officer.
The six SIMI men, who had escaped after the blast, were identified as Shaikh Mehboo alias Gudoo alias Maliq (25), Mohammad Aslam alias Bilal (26), Amjad alias Pappu alias Daud (25), Mohammad Aizazuddin (30), Zakir Hussain alias Sadiq (32)and Mohammad Salik alias Sallu. Aizazuddin and Aslam were killed in the police encounter.