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'I want to see the 7/11 perpetrators punished'

July 11, 2008 11:19 IST

A N Roy, the director general of police, Maharashtra, was Mumbai's police commissioner when bombs exploded on seven Western Railway trains on July 11, 2006. On the eve of the blasts's second anniversary, Roy took time off a hectic schedule to speak to Special Correspondent A Ganesh Nadar about the investigation into the terror attack.

How have the investigations proceeded?

Investigations were completed and the chargesheet was sent to the court in October 2006. There is enough material evidence supported by the forensic department reports. All that has been included in the chargesheet. It will come out in the trial.

You identified the shops which sold the pressure cookers allegedly used in the blasts to the perpetrators. Did the shopkeepers identify any of the arrested accused?

That is not part of the chargesheet. There are witnesses who have identified some of the accused when identification parades were held. That is a fact.

Have there been any intelligence inputs on any dangerous activity in the days leading up to the second anniversary of the blasts?

There has been no fresh development of threat on the day of the anniversary. Yesterday (Wednesday, July 10, 2008) there was a threat call made from a mobile phone to the railway authorities. We identified the person and he has been arrested. He is an ex-railway employee and had some personal motive. He has been taken into custody. Other than that we have received no threat on this occasion.

What are the preventive measures you are taking for the second anniversary of the blasts?

You should ask the Mumbai police commissioner and the railway police commissioner this question. We will be taking steps to deal with any threat that may occur. We have elaborate measures in place. We will make sure everything is secure to make people feel comfortable and confident.

The woman who heads the blasts probe

The security at railway stations has not gone up after the blasts. How come?

Yes! Security at the stations does leave much to be desired. There is a detailed plan for security for all the stations and trains. That includes access control of men and material. The railways have embarked on a more detailed plan. They are going into all aspects.

We have given some advice in improving the security structure in the railways. There have been discussions at the highest level of the Government of India and the state officials. A lot needs to be done and it is an ongoing process. Some measures have been taken and lot more will be taken.

Is the Anti Terrorist Squad following up on arresting the absconding accused in this case?

The ATS is the agency which conducted the investigation. They are the ones that have the authority to arrest the accused. But all other police agencies help them in this endeavour. That includes Interpol. An Interpol alert has been issued and they too are keeping an eye on them.

You know that most of the accused who are absconding are foreign nationals. There are a few Indians as well. It is suspected that some of them have gone out of India. Steps have been taken to secure them.

The ATS head who was investigating the case has been changed. Does this not harm the case if you keep changing the ATS head?

The investigation is complete, so there is no question of the investigation being harmed. The process of trial is pending. During the trial coordination will be done by all concerned. Even if Mr K P Raghuvanshi is not the ATS in-charge he will play his role during the trial. It is not a question of one man. It involves the Maharashtra police. It is a very serious case.

Everything will be done to assist the case. That is irrespective of officers changing or being transferred. We will give 100 per cent for this.

How are the ATS officers selected?

They are selected from within the Maharashtra police. People with certain kind of knowledge, experience and background are selected. The Mumbai police commissioner decides with advice from the ATS chief.

They make the difference in Mumbai

Was the Mumbai train blasts connected to any of the blasts that have occurred in the country after July 11, 2006?

The only thing that we can say is that there have been many similarities in the blasts that occurred after the Mumbai train blasts. We have not so far come to know of any same person being involved in both the cases. There has been no case or evidence to suggest that anyone involved in the 7/11 blasts was involved in any subsequent blast. But there have been similarities in the way the incidents have occurred.

How regularly do the central agencies like the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing interact with the state agencies?

Sharing of intelligence between the state and the Centre is a very common phenomenon. There is a committee where all these people meet together. The meeting is held periodically. Informally they are in touch regularly and there is frequent exchange of information.

How many sleeper cells have you identified in the state?

(Laughs) If anyone knew how many are there and where they are there, they would have been arrested. We do suspect that they are there. When we unearth them, we arrest them. It generally comes to notice only when there is some activity. It depends on the situation whether we arrest them immediately or watch them for a while before arresting.

Why were charges framed under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, which has been contested in the courts? What will your reply be to the Supreme Court which has stayed the trial based on MCOCA?

MCOCA was applied as it was applicable. It was not the only section under which they were chargesheeted. They were also charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Explosives Act and other relevant acts. We use all laws that are applicable.

The reply has already been filed. When the case comes up our lawyers will argue. We have given our reply.

This is what terrorism does

Most people feel that the actual perpetrators of the blasts have not been arrested. You have only picked up former activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India.

(Raises his voice) Please understand that the persons who have been arrested are the ones who committed the crime. There might be certain brains behind in planning the blasts. We have given their names. They have not been found. They are foreign nationals. Who is the brain and who is the activist, you can decide. We have given everybody's background.

The persons who are arrested are the ones who have played an active role in the blasts. Some of them have personally planted the bombs, one of them died in the blast. Some of them have put the bomb together. Others have sheltered the accused.

The role of each one has been very clearly mentioned in the chargesheet. We have also mentioned that the person who has masterminded, we have mentioned his name and identity. Some of them have not been arrested.

We have not arrested anybody because they belonged to group X, Y or Z. All of them do not belong to any one organisation.

Anything else you would like to tell us.

I only wish that the trial happens as early as possible. As expeditiously as possible. I want to see the perpetrators of the crime punished in the strongest possible manner.

We have put up the chargesheet from our side. Very quickly this was done, considering the fact that the investigation was vast and complicated.

The process of trial had begun, but the accused keep using various measures to delay the case. They keep filing various petitions which are permitted by law, fair enough.

I only hope that we will have the verdict of the Supreme Court soon and the trial can begin.