Nine days after the serial bomb blasts at the Buddhist international pilgrimage place, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday, released the first sketches of one of the suspects, who was spotted in CCTV footage moving inside one of the blast sites inside the complex.
According to sources, the sketch has been released after corroborating the evidence with eyewitness accounts.
Witnesses had vouched for some suspicious movement by a person wearing a monk's robe and a mask. The police had also recovered a bag containing a dress worn by monks and the identity card of Vinod Mistri, who said he had lost it a few days before the blasts.
“NIA solicits the co-operation and assistance of general public and requests to provide information leading to the identification of the persons involved in the blasts,” read the NIA notice.
Any information about the suspect can be passed on to phone no. 011-40623805, mobile no. 08540848216 and e-mail ID: firstname.lastname@example.org . The informer will be rewarded suitably and his/her identity will be kept confidential.
Two sketches (with and without mask) of the suspect, who was wearing the dress of a Buddhist monk, have been developed with the leads available and are being shared with the general public for wide publicity and for assistance in the ongoing investigation.
The video clips where the suspect is seen in the CCTV camera have been merged to form one single clip, which is also being shared for wide publicity and assistance.
An investigator said, it is almost clear now on the basis of evidence available, that one person planted the bombs inside the main temple complex. "Now, we have to establish who he is, what links he may have and what was the reason behind the blasts. We hope to get some clues, now that we have been able to put a face to the suspect,” he added.
NIA sources said, the suspect planted bombs at all the four locations inside the main temple.
“More people might have been involved in the operation, but we can now say with a fair degree of certainty, that one of them who managed to get inside the temple complex planted the bombs there. Others might have done it at other spots, where bombs were found to have been planted,” they added.
NIA has also uploaded the video clip after merging footages of CCTVs to establish the movements of the suspect. While the first footage is of around 4.06 am, the second footage is of 4:55 am, in which the suspect is spotted roaming in the temple premises. At 5 am and 5:05 am he has been spotted in other parts of the temple complex.
So far, there is no word on where the small gas cylinders, 'Lotus' analog watches and batteries were procured from.
“The investigation is on. We have reached a crucial stage. With some more clues, we may be able to establish more,” said an investigator.