The investigations into the blasts that rocked Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, have finally made some headway. The probe team has found some links between the blasts, which claimed nine lives, to the terror attacks in Ajmer, Goa and Pune.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the case, has picked up two suspects from Pune in connection with the blast. Though no official confirmation is available about the two men's identities, sources told rediff.com that the two accused are Davindra Gupta and Chandrashekar, and they had planted the bomb at Margao, Goa before fleeing the scene. Two members of the right-wing organisation Sanathan Sanstha were killed in the blast on October 16, 2009.
The police managed to track the duo down in Pune and now they are being questioned for their role in the Mecca Masjid blast case.
Sources claim that the two suspects are members of the Sanstha. But the right-wing group has distanced itself from them and claimed that their actions were against the principles of the Sanstha.
While the police are certain that the Ajmer blast and the Mecca Masjid blast were planned and carried out by the same group, they are trying to ascertain if the same faction was responsible for the Pune blast on February 13, which claimed 19 lives.
"The role of the Indian Mujahideen has not been ruled out. But we are trying to find out whether the same men who had carried out the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts are behind the one at Pune too," an investigating officer told rediff.com.
The investigating officials believe that they will soon crack the Mecca Masjid case. "The investigation was based on the role played by terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihadi and for at least two years, we were probing that angle. Nearly 40 Muslim youth were picked up in connection with this blast, but they were all let off by the court for want of evidence," said an official.
But there are two divergent views on which terror group orchestrated the Mecca Masjid blast.
A confidential report of the Hyderabad police to the Andhra Pradesh government, in possession of rediff.com, states clearly that HuJi members were the main suspects behind the blast. The report states, "While we rule out the rivalry between the Sunnat-ul-Jammat and the Ahila Hadees Militant Muslim Group, the role of the HuJI has to be checked."
But the CBI has doubts about the HuJI's role and believes that the modus operandi behind the Mecca Masjid blast and the Ajmer blast were similar.
Sources say that the CBI is seriously probing this angle and will soon file the charge-sheet in the case. A CBI team has met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and sought more cooperation from the state police.
The CBI team is aware that such an operation could not have been carried out without the help of local elements, and it needs the help of the state police to track them down.
As the investigations in the case progresses, certain startling facts are coming to light. The blasts in Goa, Ajmer and Hydearbad were carried out by using low-intensity bombs packed in tiffin boxes, but a more sophisticated bomb was used in Pune.
Some of the accused who have been arrested in connection with these cases have admitted that they had intentionally changed the planning of the terror attack in Pune as the earlier blasts had been similar in nature and the police would be able to detect a pattern and track down the culprits.
"As we continue to probe the case and study the interrogation reports, we feel that the same group may have tried to imitate the Indian Mujahideen. Further investigations will give a clearer picture," say investigators.