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No breakthrough in Israeli car bombing case yet

February 13, 2013 20:46 IST

It has been exactly a year since an Israeli diplomat’s car was bombed in New Delhi in which four persons were wounded. A chargesheet has been filed in the case, but the trial is yet to commence as the Delhi Police is yet to get more details on the case.

The police indicted Syed Kazmi, an Indian journalist, in the case who was granted bail four months back by the Supreme Court. Kazmi was accused of conspiracy and charged under the provisions of the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Penal Code including attempt to murder. A charge under the Explosives Substance Act has also been filed against him.

While the case is moving at a snail’s pace, the Delhi Police say that it has an international ramification and hence is taking time.

The Iranian nationals who are involved in this case has put Delhi Police on a sticky wicket. Houshang Afshar Irani, Masod Sedaghatzadeh, Syed Ali Mehdi Sadr and Mohammed Reza Abolghasemi have been named in the case, but police have not been able to secure their arrest yet.

According to the chargeheet, Irani had first come to India on April 25, 2011, to discuss the plot. He returned to Malaysia, and came back on January 29, 2012 and stayed on till the attack was complete. After the attack on February 13,2012, he left for Malaysia once again.

During his visit to Delhi Irani stayed at the Hotel High 5 in New Delhi and it was during this time that he was in touch with Kazmi. He is said to have prepared the bomb while staying at the hotel and the material which was left over was seized by the Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police also say that a spate of attacks on Israelis was planned by these persons and this was in retaliation to the attack on Iranian scientists by the Israelis.

The police, however, claim that while Irani took care of the Indian operation, the over all chief was Sedaghatzadeh Masoud (sales employee in a commercial company on Baharestan St, Tehran). He had infact supervised the attacks in Georgia, Bangkok and Delhi, the police investigation revealed.

No one in the police department part of the investigation is able to say clearly when the trial in the case would commence. Not only do they need details from Iran, but also need the investigation details from Georgia and Bangkok where similar attacks have took place.

The information from all the three countries has not been forthcoming and there are still many mysteries in this case. For instance the police had also named a lady by the name Leila Rohani who had played a bigger role in the Georgia blasts. However, the Delhi Police have not been able to get much out of the Georgian police on this lady who today they believe is in Tehran.

The diplomatic pressure is also adding to the slow pace of this case. Iran has all through denied the involvement of its nationals in this case and had accused Israel of stage-managing these incidents. However, the Delhi Police confirm that it was undertaken by a few Iranian nationals and the Israel conspiracy theory is ruled out.

The Union home ministry had cleared the visit by the Delhi police to Iran to find more details on this case. A visit to Israel had also been cleared in order to get the statement of the diplomat injured in the case.

However, these visits aimed at getting the addresses of the accused persons and also details on their antecedents, turned out to be a damp squib. There was no information that was forthcoming and the police will have to now go ahead with the trial on the existing chargesheet.

The accused that they have been hunting for will remain absconders in the chargesheet and the trial is likely to be conducted in absentia.

While not much information was obtained from Iran, the investigation in India suffered another set back when investigators from Georgia and Bangkok were unable to provide vital links.

When the probe commenced, it was said that the three attacks were inter-linked. This was largely due to the fact that the material used was similar and the targets were the Israelis. While Israel argued that it was an international ploy against them, the Iranians blamed Israel for staging these attacks, and in the bargain the investigators lost out in this blame game.

Moreover, the details collected by India and the modus operandi did not tally with what the police in Bangkok and Georgia, which only made the entire case a damp squib.

Indian investigators, however, point out that they will continue to coordinate with these countries and see if there is any more information available.

“The role of the Interpol will also be important and the suspects that we have named have been placed under the watch list,” the Delhi Police official added.

Vicky Nanjappa