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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

There Were Still No CCTVs Three Months After Blast At Delhi HC. Is Anyone Serious About This ‘War’?

Terrorists Strike Yet Again, At Will

11 Dead And Many Maimed As Bomb Rips Delhi's Heart

New Delhi: Exactly 105 days ago, on May 25, there was a low-intensity blast at Gate No. 7 of the Delhi High Court. It wasn't taken seriously; in fact, it was considered a failed attempt and a sign of the reduced strike power of terrorists. Now, it seems that the attack—whose perpetrators have still not been arrested—was just a dry run for a murderous strike by a band of determined killers. 
    At 10.15am on Wednesday, as the Delhi High Court's reception counter near Gate No. 5 milled with people, terrorists detonated a sophisticated improvised explosive device 
(IED) placed in a briefcase, leaving 11 dead and 91 others injured. It was the first major terrorist attack in the capital in almost three years, though it came less than two months after the serial blasts in Mumbai on July 13, which left over 25 people dead. 
    Most of the casualties on Wednesday were among litigants, some as distinguished as Captain Ronald Nagar, who was once Rajiv Gandhi's copilot in Indian Airlines, and some as nondescript as a band of hawkers who had come to the court in appeal for a licence to sell their wares. 

    Late at night, there was word that the police might have a lead. 
    Sources said Delhi police were looking for a silver Hyundai Accent car, DL 9CA 6034, which was being driven by a man in white shirt and black trousers — an attire possibly used by the killer/s to pass off as lawyers. Police sources later said the car was owned by National Insurance, Daryaganjbranch,andwaspossibly a stolen vehicle. 

On May 25, a low-intensity blast shook the Delhi HC. That seems to have been a dry run for Wednesday's blast 
Reacting to earlier blast, Delhi Police came up with plan to install CCTVs in the court. 
Plan still not implemented 
In July, Delhi Police was warned about impending terror threat, says home minister Chidambaram. So, what precautions taken? 
Terrorists struck at busiest spot in HC near the reception counter. The area was not secured by police. Why? 
TIME | 10.11am on a busy Wednesday, just as around 200 people were lining up to collect entrance passes. 

PLACE | Between Gates 4 & 5 of Delhi High Court, on Sher Shah Suri Marg. Bomb placed near busy reception centre 
DEVICE | Packed in a black briefcase, bomb was 3-4 kg nitrate-based cocktail. 
Traces of PETN (pentaerythritol 
trinitrate), a chemical explosive, also found 
A CLUE? | Cops hunting for a silver Hyundai Accent, DL9CA 6034, apparently being driven by the killer/s 
Terror mail sent from Mumbai 
New Delhi: A few hours after the Wednesday blast, an outfit calling itself Harkat-ul-Jehadi (very similar to the notorious HuJI—Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami) sent an email to a TV channel claiming responsibility for the blast. It demanded the release of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru who has been sentenced to death. It also threatened to target all major high courts in the country and the Supreme Court. Sources say the email has been sent from Mumbai where a team is being sent for further investigation. 
    Police said the IED used on Wednesday was possibly made with three to four kilograms of ammonium nitrate laced with PETN, shrapnel and an electronic timer device. It was placed in a black briefcase near the reception counter where around 150-200 people had queued up for gate-passes. Sources said the bomb was "very sophisticated and has been made by experts". They added that "such a bomb has been seen after a long time in the last few years". 
    The possibility of RDX being used is not being ruled out as the impact of the explosion was terrific and there was a thick pall of smoke after the blast. The impact left a 4-feet crater with 1-metre diameter. Around it was a horrible mess of blood and flesh. 
    Home minister P Chidambaram said the NIA would investigate the case and a written directive was sent to Delhi police asking it to assist NIA. By evening, Delhi police released sketches of two suspects prepared on the basis of description given by eyewitnesses. One suspect is aged 26, the other 50. Chidambaram hinted at gaps in the security system when he said that Delhi Police had been given intelligence inputs in July and the attack happened despite the fact that the Capital was on high alert. 
    As it was a day for public interest 
litigations (PIL), there was a higher number of litigants at the reception counter. The explosion took place near the senior citizens'counter, ripping off the reception area. Several persons who were standing near the deadly briefcase were killed on the spot. The injured were rushed to different hospitals—57 to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. There were some injured in AIIMS, Moolchand hospital, Apollo, Safdarjung, Ganga Ram and R&R Army hospital. 
    Teams of forensic experts, Delhi Police's special cell, crime branch, as well as the police and NIA brass were at the blast site, carrying out an extensive examination for leads. A NSG team with sniffer dogs was also drafted in the operation. NIA has formed a team of 20 officers to probe the case. 

Blast defuses BJP's cash-for-votes bomb 
New Delhi: The Delhi HC blast may have added to the UPA's troubles, but on Wednesday, it helped the Centre by heading off a scathing attack from the BJP on the cash-for-votes scam. 
    Feeling vindicated by police's belated action in the 2008 trust vote and angry that its own people were arrested when their role was limited to exposing the bribery, BJP had planned a full-scale attack on the government. Sources said L K Advani had planned to say that the "sting operation", which exposed attempts to lure BJP MPs, was authorized by him. The party veteran would have offered to face consequences for enacting the whistleblower operation. But the BJP did not get the opportunity to implement the script because of the blast. With Delhi Police telling the court that money was indeed in play and that those involved would have shaken the "democratic system", the BJP had planned to confront the government afresh. TNN

Captain Ronald Nagar, a veteran pilot, began his career with Indian Airlines where he often flew as Rajiv Gandhi's co-pilot. Currently senior vice-president (operations) of Kingfisher, he was part of the team set up by the govt to probe the Mangalore crash. On Wednesday, he suffered injuries in his legs, right arm and right eye and was rushed for surgery | P 14 


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