A crack team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and National Security Guards (NSG) which flew in to Bodh Gaya on Sunday following the serial blasts may well have missed vital evidence because of delayed arrival and intermittent showers during the intervening period.
An official close to the probe said much of the ammonium nitrate used in the explosives was washed off in the rain by the time the NIA members reached the site around 7.30pm — more than 13 hours after the 10 blasts.
The NIA team had initially left New Delhi on Sunday morning in a propeller-driven Avro aircraft, which could not land at Gaya due to inclement weather. The aircraft had to return from over Lucknow after encountering severe air turbulence.
An Avro not only flies at around 15,000 feet altitude, where maximum air turbulence is encountered, but also takes double the time of a jet to cover the distance between Delhi and Gaya.
The Union home ministry has at least four Embraer jet aircraft of the BSF at its disposal, said a senior official who did not want to be named. “The jets are often used to ferry VIPs.”
After turbulence forced the crack probe team to return, they were flown in on an Embraer jet, which flies at a much higher altitude than an Avro. The possibility of encountering air turbulence at higher altitudes is much lower.
Ironically, after reaching Bodh Gaya, the investigators had to look for evidence under flashlights.