Bengal blast : ‘Accused were radicalised in madarssa’

Burdwan_blast_building_360Burdwan/Kolkata : The NIA team probing the Khagragarh blast went to the Simulia madrassa that is believed to be a homegrown centre for training terrorists, around 38km from the blast site, on Sunday — the day after it took over charge of the probe from CID.

The madrassa has come to the spotlight since it has links to all suspects tracked so far. The CID, which was probing the incident before NIA took over, had come to know of it from the two women — Alima Bibi and Rajira alias Razia Bibi — who had initially been arrested.

In a coordinated move, Malda police is questioning the person who ran this unrecognized madrassa, who they suspect to be the dreaded Yousuf Sk. The person, who had been detained, had given interrogators a fake name and address, which increased their suspicion.

At Simulia, NIA found five telephone numbers scribbled in diaries, including one belonging to suspected terrorist Rafiqul Islam from Assam’s Barpeta. Police claimed that Rafiqul used to frequent this madrassa.

On Saturday, locals had tipped the agency of an orange Tata Nano with Bengal number-plates lying abandoned along the main road, about 100 metres from the Simulia madrassa.

Surprisingly, police did not seize the vehicle till Sunday, when they learnt that the absconding Yousuf Sk and Burhan Sk — the two suspected terrorists who ran the madrassa — used the car.

In Mongolkote’s Kuarpur, locals intercepted five people along with a cache of arms. Though two of whom fled, the others were taken to Sadar police station for interrogation by NIA.

Case transferred to Kolkata court

A Burdwan district judge has directed the transfer of the blast case to a Kolkata court. Acting district judge Suresh Bishwakarma directed acting chief judicial magistrate Payel Bandopadhyay to transfer the case and send the documents to that court through a special messenger. He also directed CID to produce the four arrested people before the Kolkata court on October 13. NIA officers feared that important evidence, such as fingerprints, could have been destroyed because local residents had touched the orange Tata Nano, as it hadn’t been seized by the cops.

The car that may have been used by terrorists

On Sunday, the seven-member NIA team, headed by IG Sanjeev Kumar Singh and SP Vikram Khalate, along with a Central Forensic Science Laboratory expert, reached the village at 4pm. They inspected the madrassa as the forensic experts collected samples. Burdwan SP SMH Meerza and the Mangalkote OC Sanjoy Kundu accompanied them.

The NIA team — including officers from its Kolkata, New Delhi and Guwahati units — had reached the Burdwan SP’s office at 2.30pm. They proceeded to Khagragarh along with the Burdwan SP to investigate the house in which the blast had occurred. A source said that the NIA officials could reconstruct the sequence of events that led to the blast.

The sequence of events that led to the blast…

Apparently , Shovan Mondal had been making the IED, with a timer attached, while Shakeel Gazi was sitting beside him. The main door was closed. Hasan was present in the next room.The two babies and the two women were in the third room. “While making the bomb, Shovan cut the wrong wire, leading to the blast. Shakeel, who was training him, died on the spot and Shovan passed away in hospital. A portion of the door was blown away in the impact, and Hasan, who was sitting in the next room, suffered splinter injuries,” a source added.

Source : Times of India


NIA probe leads to J&K, Tamil Nadu, Kerala

Probe handed over to NIA, Didi bypassed

Bangladeshi terror link suspected

Bardhaman blast accused charged under UAPA

Jihadi Women played key role in running Burdwan terror module

West Bengal under Mamata a safe haven for jihadists ?

IM men killed making IEDs in Trinamool leader’s house

NIA probe leads to J&K, Tamil Nadu, Kerala

Ashwin Krushnapaksha Chaturthi, Kaliyug Varsha 5116

NEW DELHI : The probe into the Bardhaman blast, now being handled by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), is pointing to a bigger plot extending not just to neighbouring Assam, but also to Jammu & Kashmir and the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Bardhaman blast accused Hasan Molla alias Abdul Hakim
being taken at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, on October 6, 2014.

The NIA has, based on leads gathered from the three women arrested from the site of the October 2 blast, picked up a suspect from J&K — a construction worker belonging to West Bengal.

The J&K suspect, to whom calls were made from the SIM cards seized from Rajira Bibi, wife of militant Shakil Ahmed killed in the blast, was found to be in touch with two other suspects in Birbhum, West Bengal. The NIA is now on the lookout for the duo.

Meanwhile, some arrests were made in Barpeta, Assam, on Friday. The Assam Police claimed the arrested were linked to a module operating under the patronage of Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Importantly, jihadist organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has also cropped up in the course of questioning of the suspects.

The agencies have found a picture of the ISIS flag downloaded a suspect’s phones. Though the suspect claimed that the phone was being used by another person, who may have downloaded the flag, the NIA will be probing the angle further.

A police woman escorts two women with their children, accused in Burdwan blast. (PTI photo)

The discovery of grenades and bomb-making equipment from Bardhaman, as well as linkages across several states borne out by calls exchanged by suspects in Bardhaman with aides in far-off locations like J&K and even southern states, indicate elaborate planning and high level of preparations by JMB to carry out attacks in Bangladesh.

Intelligence agencies here believe that strikes were planned as retaliation against the Sheikh Hasina regime’s crackdown on JMB elements.

This police sketch shows another key accused
in the Bardhaman blast case Sheikh Kausar.

NIA sleuths fear the suspects arrested so far and aides contacted across states by the militants are possibly foot soldiers. The probe will now focus on identifying the leaders of the module.

Source : Times Of India

Probe handed over to NIA, Didi bypassed

October 11, 2014

Ashwin Krushnapaksha Trutiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5116

New Delhi : Choosing not to wait for the consent of the West Bengal government, the Centre Thursday asked its elite anti-terror agency the NIA to take over the probe into the October 2 Burdwan blast.

Two men, alleged to be members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a terror outfit active in the neighbouring country, were killed in a blast in a house in the southeastern Bengal town. A large quantity of bomb-making chemicals and some IEDs were recovered from the blast site.

“Given the national and international ramifications of the probe, Union home ministry has issued an order in this regard,” a ministry official told HT on condition of anonymity. “A team headed by an inspector-general rank officer of the NIA (National Investigation Agency) would soon leave for Kolkata.”

Four persons, including two women, have been arrested. As reported by HT, one of the women allegedly told interrogators that the bombs they were assembling were meant for strikes in Bangladesh, prompting New Delhi to alert Dhaka.

The Mamata Banerjee government has been disinclined to hand over the probe to the NIA, with the state police being accused of mishandling evidence.

The NIA would register an FIR based on the one registered by the state police’s CID wing that was probing the case, the official said.

The Centre invoked a rarely used clause of the NIA act to bypass the state government. The act gives the Centre powers to direct the agency to take over terror-related cases irrespective of the state’s views. But this extraordinary provision only kicks in if any of the offences listed in the law’s schedule has been committed.

The act schedule covers violations of seven laws such as unlawful activities (prevention) act under which terror-related offences are usually brought in.
Since its inception in 2009, the agency has probed or is investigating 85 cases. Most of the cases –- 80%– were transferred to the agency with the consent of state governments.

Source : Hindustan Times

Bangladeshi terror link suspected

Ashwin Krushnapaksha Dwitiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5116

Burdwan/Kolkata : Tension looms large at Khagragah area of Bardhaman close to the Burdwan University’s Golapbag campus, where on October 2, two people were killed in a blast while producing bombs.

Police suspect they were part of a Bangladesh-based terror group involved in triggering blasts during the festive season, as bombs and explosives were traced from the house along with pamphlets and leaflets supporting al-Qaida and even Chechen rebels.

However, Bengal home secretary Basudeb Banerjee denied any presence of posters of al-Qaida at the blast site.

The police are also trying to retrieve a video of al-Qaida which was burned along with the pamphlets and leaflets after the blast as sources said that there were appeals to join al-Qaida. So, the probe is to find out the militant group that is trying to increase its activities in Bengal, as so far Bengal was only a transit point for terror groups via Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

The sleuths are not naming Indian Mujahedeen, but involvement of similar terror outfits is not being ruled out.

During the blast two militants — Shakil Ahmed and Sovon Mondal died, but the police are yet to get hold of their original identity, as they used several names. Shakil’s wife Gulsona Bibi alias Rajia Bibi (24) and Alima alias Amina Bibi were arrested after Thursday’s blast, but were produced in court on Sunday as they were undergoing treatment at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital.

Both were remanded in CID’s custody by a Bardhaman court for nine days, though the assistant public prosecutor Golam Aftia had prayed for 14 days remand. Another injured person Hasan Saheb is in Burdwan Medical College and Hospital and is in a critical condition. So, the police had not been able to extract much information from him.

Another suspect in the crime Abu Hasm Mollah was arrested from Purbasthali in Bardhaman on Sunday. Police said that they had drawn the sketch of Abu Hasem and spotted him as he can give important clues. He will be produced in the court on Monday.

Neighbours in the area were trying their best to get rid of this terror tag on the eve of Eid and most of the people are unwilling to speak about the incident. Sheikh Abul Kasem a former WBCS (EX) officer said that their locality was a peaceful one and they never imagined terrorists would be housed next to their home. The people were new and would not mingle with anyone, even the women would remain indoor and used scarf to cover their faces, neighbours said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had already visited the blast site and a central forensic team from Delhi had also been to the house owned by Hafez Choudhury, where the low intensity blast occurred in which the window panes of the house remained intact. Even inside the room where the blast occurred there had been no damage according to bomb experts.

Choudhury had not been able to give much light on the blast. He had remained mum when asked how he rented out his house to unknown people without checking their documents.

No external cracks were visible in the house where the blast occurred. Senior officers said that there were black powder and lead oxide and they seized socket bombs. The police officers said that the socket bombs were destroyed as per guidelines of Central Forensic Science Laboratory as the explosives are not to be forwarded to CFSL.

CID bomb squad experts destroyed the explosives on the river bank of Damodar as it can be a greater threat and videography had been made to be presented to the court during the time of framing chargesheet.

The IPS officer said, “Standard operation procedure says that explosives are to be destroyed and later the bomb experts are to give deposition to the court.”

The house owner Hafez Choudhury is a former government employee, had had rented out the first floor of his house to three couples where the blast happened. Choudhury’s son a homeopathic doctors also had a clinic in the ground floor. 70 year old Choudhury is in police custody, his family members said.

BJP’s West Bengal in charge Sidharth Nath Singh (above) said under Mamata Banerjee’s rule, the state has become a haven for jihadists.

The couples were staying in the house for last three months, neighbours said, but most of them had no interaction with the locals.

Police apprehend that the terror links were based in Murshidabad and used to frequent Bardhaman and Birbhum and for that they selected this location which has close proximity to the Bardhaman railway station to move out to other cities and even the NH2 is a few kilometres away from Khagragarh.

The failure on the part of the police to find out the militants a kilometer away from the district head quarters had stunned all.

Gopal Bag, a neighbour, said that they had heard a huge blast on Thursday around 11.45am and when they had rushed to rescue the two women did not allow them entry.

The locals alleged that the two women now in custody had tried to destroy evidences and burned leaflets of the terror groups. Bag however said that there was no Trinamool party office in the house, but in several houses in the area flags and banners of Trinamool were stored.

Source : The Times of India

Bardhaman blast accused charged under UAPA

Two women accused in the blast being escorted to the CID headquarters in Kolkata

Kolkata : Six days after the “accidental blast” in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district, the four arrested in the case have been charged under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials said here on Wednesday.

“We have charged all the four including two women under several sections of the UAPA,” Dilip Adak, Deputy Inspector General of CID, told The Hindu.

The accused have also been charged under other sections of the Indian Penal Code such as 121A, 122 and 123 relating to waging war against the state.

While Abdul Hakim, who was present at the blast site, was arrested on Tuesday, Hashem Molla, another accused in the case was arrested on Monday.

Source : The Hindu

Jihadi Women played key role in running Burdwan terror module

Ashwin Krushnapaksha Pratipada, Kaliyug Varsha 5116

Burdwan/Kolkata : The accidental blast at Burdwan’s Khagragarh has revealed, perhaps for the first time in the country, a terror module where women schooled in khariji madrassas have played a key role.

While Gulshana (Rumi) Bibi and Amina Bibi, residents of the bomb-assembling unit, were arrested soon after the blast, the state criminal investigating department has recovered a SIM card registered in the name of a third woman, Rajira Bibi, that was used to make several calls to terrorist Shakil Ahmed, who was blown to pieces in the blast.

As a result, at least 18 khariji madrassas — ones that don’t receive government aid — are now under the scanner in Burdwan, Nadia, Murshidabad and Birbhum. 

Indoctrinated and trained in guerrilla warfare, Rumi and Amina are no ordinary women.

“They are behaving like hardened criminals trying to mislead the probe. They have shown no signs yet of cracking up,” said a CID officer.

Amina and Gulshana (Rumi), residents of the bomb-assembling unit

They lived in the rented Khagragarh home with their husbands and children, yet they never cooked at home. All they have divulged so far is that Shiekh Kausar would supply them food from outside. Immediately after the blast, the two women locked up their house from inside and held off cops, firemen and neighbours with the threat to shoot. Even as Rumi’s husband Shakil lay dead and Amina’s husband Abdul Hakim writhed in pain, the two women burnt incriminating documents and tried to wipe the blood off the floor.

On Tuesday, police arrested Abdul Hakim, who is recuperating in Burdwan Medical College. He allegedly received arms training at Lalgola’s Mokumnagar madrassa.

The third woman, Rajira, had purchased the SIM from Bewa in Murshidabad. Tower locations of calls made from the SIM point to involvement of people from across the four districts of Burdwan, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Nadia.

While Shakil set up his bomb-making unit in Burdwan three months ago, he owned a burqa shop in Murshidabad’s Beldanga and lived there in a rented house. House owner Oliol Shiekh told CID that Shakil took his Baruabazar house for a monthly rent of Rs 3,000 – a rate quite higher for the locality – but never defaulted on payment. Shakil also rented the Burdwan flat for Rs 4,200 per month, and here too, he never failed to pay up.

The investigators are now preparing sketches of two other suspects — a madrassa teacher from Bolpur called Ali and another person known as Yusuf. Both were regular visitors at Shakil’s Khagragarh home. Cops believe Ali is the first person Rumi got in touch with after the blast. They suspect Ali provided the funds to run the bomb factory.

The source of funding becomes important because huge quantities of explosives were stored at the Khagragarh home, situated just three kilometres from the Burdwan district intelligence bureau (DIB) office. The CID recovered over 150 containers packed with chemicals like barium hydroxide, hexamine pure, trisodium oxide red, ammonium nitrate, iron oxide red, picric acid, lead oxide, magnesium powder and acetone. The boxes also contained small lethe machines, circuits of wrist watches, hand grenades and IEDs.

The CID officers have reasons to believe that materials from the Khagragarh house were sent to at least three places and that the people who frequented the house were from Bangladesh. Shiekh Kausar allegedly used a red motorbike without a number plate to ferry the IEDs every night. The officers are convinced that Rumi and Amina know every detail of the operation, but they are proving to be a hard nut to crack.

 Source : Times of India

West Bengal under Mamata a safe haven for jihadists ?

Ashwin Shuklapaksha Chaturdashi, Kaliyug Varsha 5116

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Sunday accused the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of turning the state into a safe haven for anti-national and jihadi activities.

Citing the October 2 blast in Burdwan in West Bengal and alleged recovery of IEDs, mobile devices and jihadi literature from the house of a TMC worker, the party charged the state government with destroying the evidence and not handing it over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for probe.

BJP secretary Siddharth Nath Singh alleged that the Burdwan police instead of handing over to the NIA the materials recovered, took away the entire evidence and destroyed it.

Posing questions to Banerjee, he sought clarifications on whether or not the house from where the recoveries were made belonged to a TMC cadre.

“Did it not have a TMC office on the ground floor?” he asked. Attacking Banerjee, the BJP leader charged her with protecting those who stood accused of laundering money.

“We can safely conclude that West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee’s rule has become a safe haven for anti-national elements and Jihadi activities,” Singh said.

Two suspected militants were killed and another was injured in the explosion in the house where they were living on October 2 in Burdwan town. The CID of West Bengal police is looking into possible involvement of terror outfits like LeT and HuJI in the incident.

Source : Times Of India

 IM men killed making IEDs in Trinamool leader’s house

BURDWAN (West Bengal) : Two suspected Indian Mujahideen militants were killed and a third injured critically in West Bengal’s Burdwan town when an IED they were allegedly making exploded in the house of a Trinamool Congress leader which also doubles as the local party office.

The blast took place on Thursday afternoon.

Locals say that when police arrived, two women held them off at gunpoint threatening to blow up the house and delaying them long enough to burn several documents and evidence. Among the half burnt papers found later were leaflets of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Indian Mujahideen. Only a month ago, Zawahiri had warned of ‘jihad’ in India.

Police sources said 55 IEDs were seized along with RDX, several wrist watch dials, maps and SIM cards. Some half-burnt books were in Arabic, say police sources. Security agencies believe that since the militants were already assembling IEDs, they planned to hit an Indian city in a few days.

Wives of the men who died or were injured were held on Sunday.

NIA, IB and other central agencies are already in Burdwan but say they are getting no cooperation from the state police. Local cops are accused of trying to hush up the blast. They destroyed the seized IEDs, bombs and explosives on Friday before central investigators could arrive. SP SMH Meerza claimed those dead did not have any criminal antecedents and that the bombs were crude socket-bombs. But CID inspector Amar Kumar Mondal, who led the bomb squad, said he defused 55 IEDs and RDX.

While Shakeel Ahmed from Nadia was killed on the spot, East Midnapore’s Shobhan Mondal died in hospital. Hasan Saheb of Murshidabad is in critical condition. Shakeel’s widow Rumi Biwi and Hasan’s wife Amina Biwi have been detained along with landlord and Trinamool leader Nurul Hasan Choudhury. The Opposition BJP and CPM demand a probe into the “Trinamool-terror nexus”.

The blast took place around noon on Thursday. Fire brigade and police believed they were responding to a domestic fire and were shocked to see two women brandishing revolvers and threatening to blow up the house if they dared enter.

In an instant, a ‘cylinder blast’ had transformed into a national security issue. Locals say they saw the two women burn several documents before they let police enter after an hour. Police took away the IEDs in sand-laden trucks. It took seven hours for a CID team from Kolkata to destroy them in controlled detonation the next morning.

When central agencies arrived on Friday afternoon, they were stunned to learn that the IEDs and RDX had been destroyed.

A four-member IB team was the first to arrive from New Delhi. An IB inspector alleged that Burdwan sadar police were not cooperating with them. “Neither the Burdwan SP nor the thana is helping us. They have destroyed all the bombs and explosives instead of retaining them for examination. The case will now become useless because of lack of evidence. The seized explosives would have been crucial in the case,” he said.

An NIA team arrived on Saturday, followed by a Central Forensic Science Laboratory team from Hyderabad. CFSL’s P D Ganesh said that the sand samples collected from the detonation site on the riverbank point to Indian Mujahideen. He said that police should have kept the explosives, and waited for them instead of destroying them. NIA and CFSL experts entered the house for the first time around 12pm on Saturday, two days after the blast.

The ruling Trinamool Congress is in a tight spot because the house served as its local party office. Trinamool leader Nurul Hasan has told police that he had given the first floor on rent to Shakeel Ahmed for Rs 18,000 three months ago and claims he does not know the others.

BJP district secretary Sandeep Nandy has demanded a CBI probe. “NIA and CBI should interrogate the three detainees and the injured person. The house is the local party office of Trinamool and you can see its flags even today. Burdwan SP SMH Meerza is trying to hush up the incident, claiming police have seized 15 crude bombs. He is trying to save the Trinamool leader. The Trinamool-terrorism link should be probed. This is a very serious matter,” Nandy said.

CPM leader Amal Haldar said burnt papers posters of Indian Mujahideen have been found. “The Trinamool-terror link has now been proved. We demand an NIA probe,” said Haldar.

Shakeel was in Mumbai for a long time before coming to Burdwan, sources say. IGP-CID R Shiva Kumar and IGP-western zone Siddhinath Gupta are interrogating the three detainees. “We have told the women to call their guardians. All 55 crude socket bombs have been destroyed by CID yesterday. The victims have no criminal background. The condition of the third victim is serious,” Meerza said.

Source : Times Of India