Bengal CID assisting Hyderabad team to trace blast links


Kolkata : The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal is assisting a police team from Hyderabad to probe Friday's blast at the Mecca Masjid in that city amid reports that two people were taken for questioning in Asansol town of the state.

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Police sources said the two were from Mihijam in Dumka district of neighboring Jharkhand state.

The CID Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Rajeev Kumar told IANS: "We are conducting our probe in the case. We have not arrested or detained anyone in this connection so far."

Police say the SIM card of the mobile used to trigger the blast on Friday as well as of the other unexploded explosives were bought in Rupnarayanpur, another Dumka town, about 250 km from Kolkata near the Jharkhand border.

"The CID is assisting the Hyderabad police. We cannot say anything more but different agencies are working on the probe," Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.

The CID remained tight-lipped so far on the probe and the Bengal links of the blast but sources said a team was on way to Burdwan.

Police in Hyderabad believe that the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami (HUJI) was behind the blast and its activist Mohammed Shahed alias Bilal, a native of Hyderabad, was its mastermind.

Bilal is believed to have triggered the blast from Bangladesh as a very sophisticated technology was used to detonate the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), filled with a mixture of RDX and TNT. According to police, a phone call from anywhere in the world to the mobile attached to the IED is enough to trigger the blast.

Local reports in Kolkata said the Bengal and Bangladesh link to the blast was strengthened after it was revealed by police that Bilal had arrived in Kolkata last month from Gujarat. The SIM cards were bought in his name, the investigators had said, a local newspaper reported.

"Bilal was moving in and around the city during April and stayed at Rajarhat (in North 24-Parganas) and Bangur (in South 24-Parganas)," said an officer working with the Hyderabad team, the report said.

On Sunday, a second mobile phone – a Nokia 6030 – was found from the water tank of the Mecca Masjid along with pieces of the explosive device that went off Friday killing 11 people and injuring many others.

A team of officials from the National Security Guards (NSG), forensic experts and bomb disposal squad combed through the scene of the blast at the 400-year-old mosque and recovered a mobile phone from the 'Wazu Khana', where worshippers wash their hands and face before prayers.

Police sources said the Nokia handset, pieces of shrapnel and bits of the IED were recovered from the tank. A cell phone of the same model was found attached to an unexploded bomb found and defused in the mosque premises on Friday.

Police hope to make some more progress by tracing the calls made or received from the mobile phone. Three-four locals are alleged to have helped Bilal, also the mastermind in the suicide blast at the police commissioner's task force office in Hyderabad in October 2005. One policeman was killed in that blast.