KOLKATA: The NIA officials investigating the Bardhaman blasts case suspect that large quantities of explosives are hidden in many parts of West Bengal and Assam. They also feel that several “illegal madrasas” in both these states were being used by Islamist terrorists to train new recruits, including women.
NIA officials, who have already visited Metaibruz, a Muslim-majority area, and Birbhum district also plan to carry out search operations in many other districts in West Bengal.
The explosives procured through conduits were supposed to be transported to Bangladesh and other parts of the country. The delay in ordering the NIA probe, eight days after the blast, gave time to the terrorists to take cover and move their equipment to other safe houses, sleuths feel.
One of the terror masterminds in West Bengal, Mohammad Yusuf, who had gone to a madrasa at Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh as a teenager to study, returned after 14 years in 2012 to set up a large unrecognised madrasa at Shimulia in Bardhaman district. The NIA officers carried out repeated searches at this madrasa even on Tuesday along with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory officials.
The location of the madrasa also gave rise to suspicion as it was built 3 km away from the metalled road and located next to a paddyfield and could not be seen from the main road. NIA officials found that the buiding was identical to several terror hideouts in Assam.
The discovery of a Nano car near the madrasa bearing the number of a two wheeler registered in Murshidabad district in 2005, much before the Nano was even produced, and pasted with a sticker of 60-years’ programme of the Indian Army’s Nashik artillery unit has also alarmed the sleuths.
The Indian Army has a huge facility with ordnance godowns at Panagarh in Bardhaman district.
An officer said, “We are considering several angles as the terrorists might have had plans to use the vehicle with Army sticker to carry out an attack at Panagarh Army depot and the IAF base there.”
The sleuths seized three swords, 14 trunks, hundreds of books in Urdu and Arabic, jihadi literature, bank passbooks, PAN cards and mobile SIM cards from the madrasa.