In what is being seen as a major failure for the counter-terrorism response of the UPA Government at the Centre and those in the States, investigations into most sensational terror attacks during the last four years are mostly incomplete and key "plotters" and "executioners" still traceless. In most of the cases relating to terrorist strikes -- including the recent ones like Jaipur serial blasts (May 13, 2008), Ajmer Sharif dargah blast (October 11, 2007) and bomb blasts at the Mecca Masjid (May 18, 2007) -- the agencies are yet to conclude the investigation.
Former director of Intelligence Bureau AK Doval told The Pioneer that single-minded determination was lacking to fight terrorism both at the policy formulation and execution levels. "The counter-terrorism efforts leave much to be desired," he added.
The Samjhauta Express blasts (18/19 February, 2007) incident is still being probed by the Haryana Police. The Union Home Ministry is awaiting the result of narco-analysis test of SIMI activists Safdar Nagori, Kamruddin, Parvez, Abdul Razak and Raies, who were arrested in Madhya Pradesh. Haryana Police had also questioned the SIMI activists and is expected to send a report to the Centre about the progress of the investigations into the case that left nearly 70 dead and injured over 100 persons.
Likewise, in the Malegaon blasts (September 8, 2006) case, the prosecution is solely dependent on the six accused persons' confessions, recorded under Section 18 of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Of these six accused, three did not confirm their confessions before the judge and the case is still lingering in the courts.
Investigations into the Mumbai local train blasts case (July 11, 2006) have concluded and chargesheets filed against 13 persons. But 15 accused, including 10 Pakistani nationals, are still absconding. The fugitives have also been chargesheeted. The MCOCA designated court, Mumbai, has issued non-bailable warrants against these 15 absconders. Red Corner Notices have been issued against two absconding accused, Rizwan Dawrey and Rahil Sheikh. The 13 accused are using all delaying tactics, like challenging the provisions of MCOCA, non-signing of charges, boycott by their lawyers. Now they have levelled allegations against the MCOCA special judge, according to the inputs available with the Union Home Ministry.
After receiving a setback at the Bombay High Court, these accused have filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court and challenged the constitutional validity of MCOCA. A petition by the accused regarding their not having faith in the special judge has also been dismissed by the Bombay High Court.
In the Aurangabad arms haul case (May 9 to 14, 2006), a chargesheet has been filed against the 17 arrested persons, but eight accused are still wanted. One of the main accused wanted by the anti-terrorist squad, Mumbai, is Zabiuddin who is believed to be in Bangladesh.
Chargesheets have been filed in the Varanasi bomb blasts case (March 7, 2006. An accused was killed in an encounter in May that year and another prime suspect is in judicial custody. However, an Indian and three Bangladeshis are still wanted. Even Red Corner Notices could not be issued against the wanted Bangladeshi nationals for want of personal details. The chargesheet has been filed against prime accused Waliullah and another accused Shamim, who is absconding.
The terrorist attack at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (December 28, 2005), is still being investigated. However, eight accused -- mostly owing allegiance to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba -- have been arrested. Seven of the eight accused in the case have been chargesheeted.
There are eight accused in the Delhi triple blasts case (October 29, 2005). Of these accused, three Indians have been prosecuted and two wanted accused -- Abu Hufeza and Rashid -- have been killed in an encounter. The remaining three, including Abu Alqama and Zaid, are still at large as Red Corner Noticess could not be issued against them for want of personal details.
The case pertaining to the attack on Ram Janmabhumi Complex in Ayodhya (July 5, 2005) is at evidence stage. There are five accused and an Allahabad court has examined 18 witnesses. Of the six wanted accused, two have been liquidated in encounters and efforts are being made to find out the names and addresses of the remaining four accused.
The Centre is still to draw any lesson from the past terror attacks for putting in place an effective mechanism to counter the intensity as well as the spatial spread of terrorist outfits. Incidentally, it is happening despite intelligence assessments about the possibility of more terror attacks by the growing presence of sleeper cells, which are funded through a sophisticated network of hawala operators.
Coordination from the multi-agency centre and joint task force on intelligence of the Intelligence Bureau and the regular follow-up meetings of the Union Home Ministry with the States where terrorist strikes have occurred, has hardly helped in improving the situation.
Counter-terrorism expert Ajay Sahni said, "In the absence of intensive intelligence build-up, post-incident investigations are unlikely to produce results as terrorist outfits operate in a highly decentralised manner and execute their designs through an opportunistic alliance at the field level."
The basic police paraphernalia, technical infrastructure, specialised training and the requisite numbers in the police and investigating agencies are lacking, Sahni said. "The lack of coherent policy at the political executive level, both at the Centre as well as in States, is the greatest failure. The political executive has failed to frame an institutionalised response to the threat posed by the terrorist outfits," he added.
At dead end
# Jaipur serial blasts (May 13, 2008) Sixty-nine killed, 100 injured.
Being probed by Jaipur Police and supported by the Central intelligence. No headway so far
# Attack on CRPF Group Centre at Rampur (January 1, 2008)
Seven CRPF personnel & a civilian killed, five injured. Terror module responsible identified, six LeT terrorists, including three Pak nationals, arrested. Further investigation continues
# Ajmer blasts (October 11, 2007) Three killed, 28 injured.
Case being probed by the Rajasthan police, yet to be wrapped up
# Bomb blasts in Shingar Cinema Hall, Ludhiana
Three persons arrested. Investigation still continues in the case
# Mecca masjid blasts (May 18, 2007), Hyderabad
Ten killed, 50 injured.
Case stll being probed by CBI
# Samjhauta Express blasts (February 18/19, 2007)
Sixty-seven killed, dozens injured
SIMI cadres believed to be behind the blasts put to narco analysis tests, reports being analysed, probe continues
Source: Daily Pioneer