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NIA probing Samjhauta blast links with other cases

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2010 19:39 IST

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Probe into the Samjhauta Express blast by the National Investigation Agency will look into the entire conspiracy behind the attack including links of the accused in terror cases in Rajasthan and Maharashtra also.

Replying to questions after presenting his ministry's report card for July, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said the decision to handover the probe to NIA was taken as the Harayana Police was not able to make any headway in its probe.

The investigation will also try to ascertain whether the persons and groups involved in the explosion in Samjhauta Express have any links with Hindu extremist elements who were allegedly involved in blasts in Ajmer and Malegaon, Chidambaram said.

"One of the aspects that NIA will probe is whether it has got any connection with those who were involved in Ajmer blast, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts. That is an aspect that has to be probed," he said when asked whether Hindu groups were involved in the case.

Sixty-eight people were killed when bombs were set off in two coaches of cross-country Samjhauta Express, running between Delhi and Lahore, around midnight on February 18, 2007 at Diwana near Panipat, 80 kilometres north of Delhi.

The Home Minister, however, made it clear that it was premature to point finger at any organisation or individual at this stage.

"If we could do that, why we would hand it over to the NIA? Since Haryana police has not been able to crack the case, with their consent, the case has been handed over to the NIA," he said.

Chidambaram said NIA can investigate terror related cases and the agency has been given a number of cases ever since it was constituted.

"Some of the old cases, which have not yet been solved, are being given to NIA because we want them to solve them. Samjhauta express case is an example.

"It is all depend on the progress being made by the current investigating agency. When they are unable to solve the case after a reasonable time, then I am afraid with their consent, the alternative is to try and ask NIA...can you solve it," he said.

The Home Minister said the Mecca masjid blast (May 18, 2007) case is already with the CBI while Ajmer blast (October 11, 2007) is with ATS Rajasthan and Malegaon blasts (September 8, 2006) is with ATS Maharashtra.

The case was being handled by Harayana Police, which had failed to make any headway after its probe led to a tailor at Indore, who had prepared the cover for the suitcase in which the bombs were planted.

Sources said Madhya Pradesh police were not cooperating with the probe.