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Varanasi Blast: UAE-based Indian Mujahideen module responsible

Thursday December 09, 2010 08:47:07 PM, IANS

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Lucknow: While Uttar Pradesh Police are yet to make any breakthrough in Tuesday's Varanasi blast, intelligence agencies said they have traced the roots of the conspiracy to an Indian Mujahideen module based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A report submitted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the central government Thursday identified two UAE-based IM agents as the masterminds behind the blast that left one dead and 31 injured.

The blast rocked Shitla Ghat on the Ganga's bank during the course of the evening 'arti', which draws huge crowds.

"Mohammad Shahnawaz and Asadullah Akhtar have been identified as the men behind the blast," a senior IB official in New Delhi told IANS. They were stated to be in touch with the Bhatkal brothers, who were among the founders of the IM, the official said.

According to the report, Shahnawaz and Akhtar, both of whom were in Sharjah at the time of the blast, are understood to have worked in close collaboration with Pakistani spy agency Inter Services Intelligence, that has been building its base in Dubai and Sharjah only to shift the anti-terror international focus away from Pakistan.

The UAE is not high on the anti-terror radar when compared to Pakistan and it is easier for these operatives to enter India, the report said.

"Apparently, the underlying idea behind the Varanasi strike was to use the city for the re-launch of their (IM) operations in India," the IB official said.

Meanwhile, the state police are waiting for the forensic reports that would identify the nature of the explosives and the firing mechanism.

"We are waiting for the (forensic) reports that could come by tomorrow (Friday) through which we would get to know about the explosives used in the blast," Additional Director General of Police Brij Lal told reporters here Thursday evening.

"Till now, no one has been arrested. Investigations are on," he added.

The forensic reports would be significant for the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), which is heading the investigations, as no splinters, remote control device, shrapnel or any electronic circuit were found from the blast site.

"The nature of blast and how it was triggered are two key questions before us...It's still a puzzle for us," a senior police official in Varanasi told IANS, on the condition of anonymity.

"Until these two questions are answered, we would not be in a position to link any terror outfit with the blast," he added.

Meanwhile, according to sources in Varanasi police, the ATS questioned two or three labourers for the blast.

"The labourers are believed to have carried out some construction at the ghats of the Ganga. However, after quizzing them, the labourers were freed by ATS sleuths," a source said.





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