Centre Treading Cautiously on NIA Probe into Burdwan Blast
NEW DELHI: Amidst demand for having an NIA probe into the October 2 blast at a house in Burdwan in West Bengal, government is treading cautiously and weighing political ramifications of the move before making a suo moto decision to hand over the case to a central probe agency.
Senior officials of the Home Ministry said a report of intelligence agencies and from the state government had been received and a decision whether to hand over the case to NIA would be be taken only by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is at present campaigning in Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections.
Two suspected militants Shakil Ahmed and Sovan Mandal were killed and another man Hasan Saheb was injured in the explosion on October two.
Grenades, chemicals used in making explosives, a book on how to trigger explosion, jihadi literature, a video on jihadi training and a map of important locations in Burdwan district were seized by the CID team from the house.
A large number of watch dials, SIM cards and other tools required to make improvised explosive devices were also seized from the house.
Mamata Banerjee's government in West Bengal, which was initially reluctant to accept that the incident in Burdwan was a terror incident, finally handed over the case to the state CID after material collected from the site of the incident showed that some terror group was assembling bombs in the house and were planning to carry out a strike.
Four persons, including two women, have been arrested so far in the case.
Arch political rivals BJP and CPI(M) are united in asking the Centre for handing over the case to NIA for a probe as they believed that the state government was trying to hush up the matter.
Banerjee and Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat along with other non-Congress Chief Ministers had raised strong objections to a clause in the NIA Act for giving sweeping powers to the Centre for probing any terror-related case.
Section 6(5) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, empowers the Centre to suo motu direct the agency to investigate a Scheduled offence committed anywhere in India.
However, this provision has not been invoked so far.
The sources said Banerjee was certain to resist entrusting the Burdwan blast investigation to any central agency.
Trinamool Congress has been in the forefront of resisting any move or proposed legislation with the slightest implications on Centre-state relations.
Banerjee had strongly opposed the Centre's move to set up the National Counter-Terror Centre (NCTC), describing it as an "infringement" upon the jurisdiction of states and against the federal structure enshrined in the Constitution.
Also, if the Centre entrusts the probe in the case to NIA, the agency may have to face a reluctant West Bengal police which may further hamper investigation into the matter, the sources said.