A retired deputy superintendent of police (DSP) rank officer of Bihar is under the scanner for possible links with October 27 Patna blasts suspects Tehsheen Akhtar and Haider Ali, according to a Jharkhand police official.
“Arrested suspect Imtiaz Ansari had met Akhtar and Ali, believed to be Indian Mujahideen operatives, at this retired officer’s residence in Ranchi,” an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who did not want to be named said on Tuesday.
Police officers in Jharkhand are reluctant to go on record in matters related to the probe due to the involvement of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The IPS officer said the retired police officer’s name had cropped up during Ansari’s questioning.
“I used to participate, actively in religious programmes. In one such programme at the DSP’s residence, Akhtar contacted me after seeing my knowledge and zeal,” reads Ansari’s confession.
There are strong laws governing a suspect’s confession. In many circumstances, confessions gathered during questioning are not admissible in court and do not have value as evidence.
Ansari has admitted he later met Akhtar several times at the retired officer’s house. Akhtar later indoctrinated Ansari.
Akhtar and Haider are suspected of having planned the serial blasts during Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
Blasts on the day of the rally claimed six lives and injured more than 80. Ansari was arrested after the first blast at Patna railway station.
Akhtar and Haider are on the run.
“Investigators suspect the retired Bihar officer came in contact with Akhtar and Haider during his working days,” said the IPS officer.
“Police officers know people from all sections, but this retired officer’s reported familiarity with Patna blasts suspects has raised eyebrows.”
The IPS officer added it was likely that the retired police officer would be questioned shortly.