Ernakulam Blast – Arrested Jihadi’s have NDF Link

published on July 14, 2009

Blast materials were of terrorist grade: Police

PNS | Kochi

The special police team probing the blast occurred at the Ernakulam district collectorate building last week was yet to make any arrests in connection with the incident. Sources in the police said they had got certain leads in the case but more information was needed to make any arrests.

At the same time, the police team confirmed that the substances used in the explosive device that went off at the collectorate were the same materials used in the sample explosions at the SIMI camp held at Vagamon, Idukki in December 2007. The SIMI operatives had used ammonium nitrate, aluminium powder, carbon and sulphur and the same materials were used in the blast last week. The same substances were used in the explosions at Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi.

The probe team on Monday night released the relatives of the six persons taken into custody earlier. Though the six persons had preliminarily been found to have connections with extremists, the relatives were questioned as part of examining all aspects of the blast, which the police believed to be a well-planned operation.

The blast had occurred in a stationery waste dump on the fifth floor of the collectorate building on July 10. Nobody had been injured in the explosion but the police were convinced that great technological expertise was obvious in the blast and that it could have been thoroughly a planned one.

Though four days had elapsed since the blast, the police probe was yet to gather intensity. About 30 persons had so far been summoned by the police in connection with blast and some had already been released. Additional Director of Police (Intelligence) would review the probe report on Wednesday.

A high-level team under Inspector General Vinson M Paul and Kochi City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham was constituted on Saturday to probe the blast.

Police sources said the strength of the special team could be enhanced after a review meeting.

The police had earlier taken into custody five persons from Eeratupetta and one from Thodupuzha, all NDF (Popular Front) and Muslim League workers. Those who were taken into custody were NDF worker Manakkal Kabeer (35), Abdul Kareem (67), a retired teacher and father of Shibily, a SIMI activist and former NDF functionary, arrested in connection with terror cases, and Shaduli, Kareem’s son in law Rafeeq Parayil (36) Kareem’s nephews Hashim (38) and Rasheed, all from Eerattupetta and Shahul (47) of Paliyath, Thodupuzha.

Rafeeq had earlier been arrested in connection with the secret meeting of SIMI at Panayikkulam near Kochi on August 15, 2006, which was said to be the first launchpad of the Indian Mujahiddeen bomb attacks in various Indian cities. However, the police were yet to reveal the reason for taking them into custody. The police had last year held a search at the house of Shibili and Shaduli in connection with the SIMI camp in Vagamon.

Sources in the Police Department said there were plans to question goondas and mafia elements in the State. They said more than 35 goonds listed in the records could be interrogated in connection with the blast. There were also plans to extend the probe into other states as the incident could have terror connections.

Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose who visited the district collectorate immediately after the blast had said that the blast was not accidental but looked like part of a planned operation. He had said that the explosives used for the blast had been of the kind used by terrorists and the explosive device itself had shown skill in its constitution.

Though the blast was first said to have occurred from electric batteries abandoned among the paper and other wastes, the probe was launched after it was suggested that it could have been a pipe bomb explosion.

The blast occurred from an improvised explosive device, which was kept in a gunny bag along with the waste materials, exploded at the collectorate office at around 1510 hrs Friday. The device was kept in a steel pipe and a detonator with batteries and a timer were found from the blast site.

There were suggestions that the device was indeed planted by terrorists who wanted to carry out a “dry run” for some major terror operation. They suspected that the explosion as such was not meant for killing or injuring anybody but it could have been an experiment. Security at all district collectorates and vital installations like airports in the State was stepped up in the context of the blast at the Ernakulam collectorate building.

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