The West Bengal police didn’t slap charges of terrorism and other serious offences against the accused in the Burdwan blast case to keep the NIA at bay, a senior official of the country’s elite anti-terror force told HT.
The accusation will add to the pressure on the state government that has come under fire from the opposition for allegedly going soft on fundamentalists and trying to keep the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central body, off the case.
Two men, both Bangladeshis, were killed in a blast in a house in Burdwan on October 2. The men and the rest of the group were allegedly members of a module of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a terror group, as reported by HT on Monday.
The accused have been charged with causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means, attempt to murder and destroying evidence among others.
None of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions that deal with terror and anti-national activities have been evoked, the NIA official told HT on condition of anonymity.
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According to the official, terror-related offences are usually brought under unlawful activities (prevention) act (UAPA) and similar IPC sections. Had these been slapped, it would have allowed the NIA to take over the investigation, the official said.
The NIA act gives the Centre powers to direct the agency to take over terror-related cases from the police irrespective of the state’s views. But this extraordinary provision only kicks in if any of the offences listed in the law’s schedule had been committed.
Under the act, every case where a scheduled offence has been committed has to be reported to the Centre which can order the NIA to take charge within 15 days.
The act schedule covers violations of seven laws such as UAPA and the anti-hijacking act and 17 sections of the IPC relating to sedition, waging war against the country and counterfeiting currency.
Hand grenades, improvised explosive devices and large quantities of bomb-making chemicals were recovered from the house. As reported by HT, New Delhi alerted Dhaka that the terror module was assembling bombs for strikes in Bangladesh and had even sent out four consignments.
As the case had international ramifications, the NIA would be the right agency to handle the case, the official said.
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