The police averted a possible festival-time terror strike in the national capital by recovering explosives hidden in a car in neighbouring Haryana. Intelligence inputs led the cops in Delhi and that state to trail the blue Indica parked outside Ambala Cantonment railway station last night.
The happy end apart, the incident has unveiled a conspiracy hatched by terrorists of banned groups Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Punjab-based Babbar Khalasa International (BKI) to strike in Delhi just before Diwali. Both the groups have been banned in India and also the US.
The police recovered 5.6 kilograms of black-coloured explosives, suspected to be RDX, from the spot to where they were led while helping the National Investigation Agency in its probe into the September 7 Delhi High Court blast that killed 15 people and injured 70. Police teams have also recovered 5 detonators, 2 timers, batteries and wires from the car apart from a sweet box and two newspapers of Jammu.
It was on on the basis of a few telephone calls originating from Nepal that Intelligence agencies managed to track the car. Soon, the police called in bomb experts of the National Security Guard. The home ministry has now asked both Delhi and Haryana police to file a detailed report on the recovery of the explosives.
Security agencies believe the explosives may have been brought from Jammu and Kashmir and were supposed to be handed over to members of BKI by LeT operatives. Though intelligence agencies have for long suspected Pakistan-based LeT of helping extremists groups in Punjab, this is the first time they have sensed a direct link between terrorists operating in the Kashmir Valley and Punjab.
“We had inputs that an LeT module active in Jammu and Kashmir was planning to strike in Delhi,” said Arun Kampani, deputy commissioner special Cell. “Our investigations found that the explosives were meant for BKI to be used in Delhi. Then, yesterday, we received a specific input about the movement.”
Senior members of the intelligence agencies believe that LeT was given the task of regrouping BKI members in Punjab and also help in training and handling explosives to make improvised explosive devices. The government had given a list of 20 terrorists responsible for attacks in Punjab and suspected to be hiding in Pakistan.
The government suspects that BKI leader Wadhwa Singh is hiding in Pakistan, while Mehal Singh, his deputy, is operating from France. Intelligence agencies believe that Wadhwa’s son-in-law Satnam Singh Malian is hiding in Germany and is working to set up coordination between other terrorist groups and raise funds for the organisation.
The most high-profile attack by BKI was the assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh 16 years ago. The BKI chief had personally supervised that operation on August 31, 1995.
Only two days ago had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at a combined commanders conference, cautioned that India must be equipped to face challenges as terror groups are becoming highly networked and increasingly lethal.