With terrorists succeeding in carrying out a second bomb blast outside the Delhi high court in less than four months, despite steps taken by Delhi Police, home minister P Chidambaram ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the high-intensity blast that killed 11 persons on Wednesday.
This is the first time that the NIA — set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes to ensure that terrorists are brought to justice — will investigate a bomb blast from the beginning.
Most terror cases investigated by the agency were initially handled by the state police and transferred to the NIA at a much later date. On Wednesday, the home ministry wasted no time.
Within hours of the blast, Chidambaram announced his intention to hand over the case to the NIA. In a statement viewed as an indictment of the police, the home minister told Parliament that the tragic incident took place “despite the capacity that has been built and despite Delhi police remaining on high alert”.
Chidambaram also pointed out that there was some intelligence on the possibility of a terror attack that had been shared with the police.
“Delhi is a target of terror groups. When Parliament is in session and during certain other times of the year, Delhi is placed on high alert. Intelligence pertaining to threats emanating from certain groups was shared with Delhi Police in July, 2011,” he said.
UK Bansal, secretary of internal security at the home ministry later pointed out that most intelligence inputs were not specific, down to the date and location of a terror strike. This one (latest intelligence input) was also not specific, he added.
Soon after taking over as home minister post-Mumbai attacks in December 2008, Chidambaram had made it clear that he believed every intelligence was actionable and provided the base for the state police or other agencies to work on the information.
With the NIA in charge of the probe – it has put together a core team of 20 investigators and 17 others to assist them – Chidambaram said the government was “determined to track down the perpetrators.”