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NSA says govt will act against every terror module; reward announced for suspects' info

NSA Shivshankar Menon today said the govt will act against every terror module operating in India. While refusing to make any specific comment on the blasts, he said investigations have just started.

delhi Updated: Feb 22, 2013 19:24 IST

National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon on Friday said the government will act against every terrorist module operating in the country.

While refusing to make any specific comment on the twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad, Menon told reporters here that investigations have just started.

"Don't jump to conclusion. Once we know, we will tell you," he said.

Replying to questions, he said, "there are different terrorist modules. They try and strike. We know some of them which we have to stop. This one got through."

"We will act against every one of them," he said.

On a query about the proposed constitution of the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), Menon said consultations in this regard were still in progress.

Earlier, delivering a lecture on 'India and her neighbours' at the Symbiosis Institute of International Studies at Lavale near here, the NSA said the country had learned how to tackle terrorism.

"We have learned how to deal with terrorism. Terrorists also learn and get smarter and increase their ability," he said.

It was sad that despite common interests, the relations between India and Pakistan had remained strained with unresolved issues such as cross-border terrorism and inaction on the part of Pakistan to book the perpetrators of the 2611 attacks, he added.

Terror had struck Hyderabad yesterday when two near simultaneous blasts in Dilsukhnagar area left 16 dead and scores injured.

Maha ATS in Hyderabad

A Maharashtra ATS team, involved in Pune explosion probe, is in the Andhra Pradesh capital to coordinate with investigators probing the Hyderabad twin blasts, which is suspected to be the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen (IM).

"A seven-member team from our side has gone to Hyderabad. We are in touch with AP police as well as NIA officials," a senior Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad officer said here today.

"Our team has visited the terror site and is providing all help to the investigators. As the preliminary probe suggested that the twin blasts could be the handiwork of IM, we are sharing all information we had gathered about this terror group with the AP Police," he said.

Delhi Police along with Hyderabad Police is expected to interrogate an alleged IM terrorist, arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, from a place in Hyderabad last October.

Maqbool, currently lodged in Tihar jail, had said the outfit was planning terror strikes in some places in Hyderabad for which recce had been carried out.

Maqbool and Imran, natives of Maharashtra's Nanded district, arrested in connection with last year's low-intensity blasts in Pune that left one injured, had recced Dilsukhnagar and Begum Bazaar localities of Hyderabad to plot the attack following instructions from the home-grown terror outfit's founder Riyaz Bhatkal.

Bhatkal, believed to be sheltered in Pakistan, is said to have ordered the four coordinated blasts in Pune to avenge the murder of suspected IM operative Mohammad Qateel Siddiqui last year in Yerwada Central Jail. Siddiqui was arrested for his alleged role in planting a bomb outside a temple in Pune and was also named in the Bangalore's Chinnaswamy stadium blast.

Indian Mujahideen was also involved in the German Bakery blast in Pune on February 13, 2010, which had left 17 dead and scores injured.

The terror outfit has sleeper cells in Maharashtra with operatives arrested in various cases belonging to Nanded, Beed and Ahmednagar districts, ATS officials said.

Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the handlers of 26/11 Mumbai attack perpetrators and an operative of Pakistan- based Lashkar-e-Taiba, is a native of Beed district.

LeT is said to have launched IM to facilitate terror attacks in India with the help of local youths. Two powerful Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), kept in aluminium containers fastened to bicycles, had exploded in bustling Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad last evening, minutes apart, killing 16 people and injuring over 100.

'Ensure no more blasts'

The government should ensure that the Hyderabad blasts are the last such incident faced by India, said Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley.

"It is sad that the first day of budget session was chosen to give the grim reminder that India is very high up on terror radar. We must think in one direction, strengthen our resolve and this should be the last such incident," Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said during a discussion in the upper house on Thursday's blasts in Hyderabad.

Jaitley warned that government should not "lower its guard because there are some noises from across the border that there is a great change of heart".

He also stressed that there is a need to strengthen intelligence.

"We need to get into the terror modules and burst them," Jaitley said.

'Reward announced for information'

Police on Friday announced a handsome reward for anybody providing information about the suspects seen in Dilsukhnagar before the twin blasts Thursday evening.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner D Tirumala Rao Friday appealed to people to give any information they may have about young man seen moving in the area under suspicious circumstances.

"If you have seen a youth carrying something and parking a scooter or a cycle under suspicious circumstances, provide the information to police," he told reporters at the scene of the blasts.

He promised that police would keep the identity of the person giving information a secret. "Handsome reward will be given. It may be Rs 5 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or even Rs 20 lakh depending on the investigations," he said.

Claiming that police have obtained many clues, the police commissioner said he was confident that the case would be cracked. He said the investigations were on at a brisk pace. He, however, refused to share the information saying this may hamper the investigations.

He also declined to answer whether the CCTV cameras installed in the area could capture the image of the terrorists who planted bombs. He, however, remarked that the CCTV camera installed in the middle of the road focussed on the traffic and not to a corner.

The area where the blasts took place falls under the limits of Cyberabad police commissionerate and is close to the limits of Hyderabad police commissionerate.