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No headway in Bengaluru blasts

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | August 12, 2008 16:48 IST

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The Karnataka police have made little progress in the investigations into the serial blasts in Bengaluru [Images] on July 25. While Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya claimed on Monday that over 500 persons have been questioned in connection with the blasts, the fact remains that there have been no key arrests yet.

The Bengaluru police have decided to remain tight lipped about the investigation status. State Police Chief R Srikumar told rediff.com that investigations are on and information will be given at the appropriate time.

Experts feel that the state's Anti Terror Cell, which is headed by an Inspector General of Police, is understaffed and the state does not have a clear policy on how to prevent terror attacks.

The main job of the ATC is to gather information with the help of the Intelligence Bureau and send reports to the police. The government has not given the ATC powers to carry out arrests and the cell has been reduced to doing a postman's job.

However, Srikumar begs to differ and says that the Karnataka police are well equipped to tackle terror. In the blog run by the state police, he writes: "When the serial bomb blasts started shaking Bangalore, I myself was at Chennai attending a conference of Southern regional DGPs, where one of the topics of discussion was terror threats and cooperation amongst the police agencies of the region. Me and my colleagues had to get back in a hurry and begin our site visits and investigation related chores.

"Soon the questions started coming in torrents about intelligence failure, police laxity, and the country being a soft state. The failure to get any terrorists convicted also was levelled against the police and the government to show their ineffectiveness to deal with the situation.

"Let me first deal with the issue whether any terrorists have been caught, arrested and convicted in Karnataka. I was posted as Inspector General of Police in the Corps of Detectives  Bangalore in July, 2000. Karnataka had to deal with a series of church blast cases that took place in various states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa [Images] and Andhra Pradesh. By the dint of investigation, an international conspiracy was unearthed and several accused were arrested from various parts of the country and were charge-sheeted. The accused had links with Pakistan and were members of the Deendar Anjuman Sect, Hyderabad. The trial of the accused which took place in Andhra Pradesh has resulted in the conviction of most of the accused. The trial of the case in Karnataka is nearing completion with accused being arraigned for having waged war against India. The reading of evidence and the questioning of the accused is over. After the completion of the arguments, the court has to assess the mass of evidence adduced and then give its verdict. This may happen very shortly.

"As the records show, in Karnataka in the first six months of this year, suspected terrorists have been arrested in Honnali, Belgaum, and Bangalore. The number of arrests is also a high number running into double digits. One bomb blast did take place in the court premises in Hubli on May 10 and another was averted in a polling booth in Belgaum on the third day of the poll May 22 because of police action of identifying and arresting the accused days before the blast was to take place.






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