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Delhi blast probe tangled in triple mail puzzle

Last updated on: September 9, 2011 17:17 IST

Delhi blast probe tangled in triple mail puzzle

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Vicky Nanjappa

Three days after the Delhi high court blast, a third mail claiming responsibility has come to the fore. Seems to be a perfect ploy adopted by the terror groups to confuse the investigative agencies, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

There is a bit of insanity in the manner in which the case pertaining to the Delhi high court blast that killed 13 and injured scores of others have been probed till date. Every theory has gone wrong.

The 'get away' car which the investigators thought was the terror vehicle turned out to be stolen car which had nothing to do with the bombing. Secondly, the sketches of suspects which were drawn out in a hurry have been proved to be wrong images, according to the sources in the National Investigation Agency, entrusted with probing the matter.

This has now prompted them to put out a new sketch. Even the interrogation of the various men who have been picked up till date in connection with the blast is moving at a very slow pace.

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Image: A SWAT member of the Delhi police force stands guard outside the high court after Wednesday's bomb blast
Photographs: Parivartan Shram/Reuters
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'Terror mails' taking investigations a step backward

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These are just suspects, and investigating agencies say that they are looking for leads from them, although prima facie it does not appear they were directly connected with the bombing.

The email culture after a blast, which was made famous by the Indian Mujahideen, was once a weapon for the police. However, now it has become a nightmare since it is taking the investigations a step backward.

On day 1, they were on the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami trail based on the mail. The mail clearly stated that the judiciary would be under attack and that was the theory that they were working on. The probe did go in one particular direction and some members of the HuJI were even picked up.

On the second day, however, there was another mail that was sent out which took the NIA into another spin and they started to explore the IM angle since this mail was alleged to have been sent by the outfit. Just when this angle was being probed, there came another mail on Friday which speaks about carrying out an attack in Ahmedabad.


Image: Commandos use sniffer dogs to search for evidence near the site of a bomb blast outside the high court in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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'The mails can't be dismissed as mischief'

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What such mails tend to do is throw the investigating agency off guard. Moreover, despite the IM being down today, the police have learnt from the experience of the Ahmedabad blasts in 2008 -- where a mail was sent out a couple of minutes before the attack warning about the blasts.

The IM had the most sophisticated technical cell and they used technology to their advantage. They played the cat and mouse game with the police very well and did manage to succeed to a large extent.

The likes of Mansoor Pheerbhoy may be behind bars and Abdus Subhan absconding, but it's still not good enough to say that IM's technical cell has been busted. There are many more boys who are out on the loose who are capable of sending such mails bouncing them off proxy servers, often in far-off countries.

Sources in the investigating team say that this is the third mail till date and it cannot be merely dismissed as 'mischief.'

Whoever is sending them out has a motive behind it and it could all have been sent from one place while bouncing them off servers at different places.


Image: A police officer uses a ladder to climb a tree to look for evidence at the site of the Delhi HC blast
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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'A change in terror strategy can't be ruled out'

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A mischief-monger may not take such a big risk of dealing with a case of terrorism knowing fully well what the consequences are. Although the person sending out the mail may not have anything to do with the attack, he would be still interested in sending it out to confuse the investigators.

A couple of boys from the IM are capable of this since they would be trying to send out a message that they are still active. Although they may have not carried out this attack, they would still want to show that they are in business.

The NIA is in touch with Google for more details on the mail and are expecting some answers in the next couple of days.

Currently, the probe in centered around these mails since the police believe that there could be more to it. Apart from trying and finding out the origins, they would also study the pattern.

For starters it does not appear to be a typical mail that an IM would send out. However, one cannot rule out the possibility of a change in strategy, sources in the investigating authorities point out.


Image: Security conduct checks after the blasts
Photographs: Chaman Gautam
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