Choosing not to wait for the consent of the West Bengal government, the Centre Thursday asked its elite anti-terror agency the NIA to take over the probe into the October 2 Burdwan blast.
Two men, alleged to be members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a terror outfit active in the neighbouring country, were killed in a blast in a house in the southeastern Bengal town. A large quantity of bomb-making chemicals and some IEDs were recovered from the blast site.
“Given the national and international ramifications of the probe, Union home ministry has issued an order in this regard,” a ministry official told HT on condition of anonymity. “A team headed by an inspector-general rank officer of the NIA (National Investigation Agency) would soon leave for Kolkata.”
Four persons, including two women, have been arrested. As reported by HT, one of the women allegedly told interrogators that the bombs they were assembling were meant for strikes in Bangladesh, prompting New Delhi to alert Dhaka.
The Mamata Banerjee government has been disinclined to hand over the probe to the NIA, with the state police being accused of mishandling evidence.
The NIA would register an FIR based on the one registered by the state police’s CID wing that was probing the case, the official said.
The Centre invoked a rarely used clause of the NIA act to bypass the state government. The act gives the Centre powers to direct the agency to take over terror-related cases irrespective of the state’s views. But this extraordinary provision only kicks in if any of the offences listed in the law’s schedule has been committed.
The act schedule covers violations of seven laws such as unlawful activities (prevention) act under which terror-related offences are usually brought in.
Since its inception in 2009, the agency has probed or is investigating 85 cases. Most of the cases –- 80%-- were transferred to the agency with the consent of state governments.