New Delhi: In another breakthrough in its probe in the June 17 explosion at Bihar’s Darbhanga railway station, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested two more people from Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district.
An NIA spokesperson told IANS: “We have arrested Mohammad Salim Ahmed aka Haji Salim and Kafil aka Kafeel, both residents of Kairana.”
The two were arrested in a joint operation with the Uttar Pradesh Police, after investigation revealed that they are key conspirators in the case.
The official said that arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, brothers Nisar Khan and Imran Malik had met at the residence of Ahmed in February 2021 and finalised the plan of planting an IED in a moving train so casualties and extensive damage to property can be caused.
Terming Ahmed a close associate of Pakistan-based LeT operative Iqbal Kana, the NIA official said: “Salim Ahmed was acting as a key intermediary between Iqbal Kana and arrested brothers Nasir and Imran. He was also involved in channelling funds sent by Iqbal Kana that were used in executing the terror act.”
A source said that Ahmed had visited Pakistan on a number of occasions, and the agency will also probe the hawala transaction dealings between the LeT handlers based in Pakistan and their members in India.
The source revealed that Ahmed has also been questioned by the team of Intelligence Bureau and several other agencies.
According to NIA sources, he had apparently recruited the brothers and paid Rs 1.6 lakh for making the bomb and planting it in the train from Secunderabad to Darbhanga.
Earlier in the day, NIA sources had said that several people from Shamli are on the list of suspects of the anti-terror probe agency as their links with the LeT has been found.
The NIA on June 30 arrested Khan and Malik from Hyderabad for their role in the blast, and recovered incriminating materials and multiple digital devices during the searches conducted at the premises of two.
An NIA official said that the items recovered from their premises included various documents pertaining to the procedure for fabrication of IEDs and materials used for making of IEDs.
Another source related to probe said that Khan was the person who made the liquid bomb used in the explosion at the Darbhanga railway station.
The NIA has claimed that Khan had travelled to Pakistan in 2012 and had received training from Lashkar handlers on manufacturing of IED from locally available chemicals. Khan was in constant touch with his handlers in Pakistan, the source said.
Highlighting the role of Malik, the source said that the LeT handlers had sent the video of making IED on his mobile. “Malik made the IED bomb after seeing the video which was sent to him by LeT handlers and then that bomb was kept in the Secunderabad-Darbhanga train,” the source said.
Following the blast, a case was registered in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on June 17. The NIA had taken over the probe on June 24.
The agency had said on Wednesday that preliminary investigation has revealed a trans-national conspiracy hatched by top LeT operatives to execute terror acts across India and cause large scale damage to life and property.
It said that acting under directions of Pakistan-based handlers, Khan and Malik had fabricated an incendiary IED, packed it in a parcel of cloth, and booked it in a long-distance train from Secunderabad to Darbhanga. This, the NIA said, was aimed at causing explosion and fire in a running passenger train, resulting in huge loss of lives and property.