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LeT wanted to set train afire, target sleeping passengers: NIA Darbhanga blast chargesheet

The LeT operatives were acting on the directions of a Pakistan-based handler, says the chargesheet in the case of the 17 June explosion at Darbhanga station in Bihar.

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New Delhi: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives planned to “set ablaze a moving long-distance train by placing incendiary Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to make sure that many innocent people are killed”, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said in its chargesheet in the June Darbhanga station blast case. 

The chargesheet, filed Thursday, says the accused were acting under instructions from a Pakistan-based LeT operative, Hafeez Iqbal alias Iqbal Kana, NIA sources told ThePrint.

On 17 June this year, a parcel containing women’s clothing, sent from Secunderabad, Telangana, on-board the Secunderabad-Darbhanga Express train, exploded while it was being unloaded at Darbhanga station in Bihar. No one was injured, and a bottle containing some liquid was found stashed in the damaged bundle.

Four people have been arrested in the case: Mohammad Nasir Khan, Imran Malik, Saleem Ahmed, and Kafil Ahmad. The chargesheet names these four as well as their alleged handler, Iqbal Kana, who is currently residing in Lahore, Pakistan, said NIA officials. 

The chargesheet has been filed under IPC sections on conspiracy, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. 

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had told the Lok Sabha on 14 December that there was “involvement of a foreign-based terrorist group in the bomb blast at the Darbhanga railway station”. 

‘Chemicals for blast locally procured’

According to an NIA source, Mohammad Nasir Khan and Imran Malik had fabricated an “incendiary IED using locally procured chemicals and placed it in a parcel of clothes”.

“This was all done on the directions of Pakistan-based LeT operative Hafeez Iqbal. The parcel was then booked on the Secunderabad-Darbhanga Express, which departs at night. On triggering the IED, the cloth parcel would ignite and further spread fire in other parcels booked in the van, turning it into a large conflagration,” the source said.

“Intended to have spread in the nighttime, it would have gone unnoticed and engulfed the sleeping passengers, causing maximum loss of human lives,” the officer said.

Investigation, the source added, had further revealed that Mohammad Nasir Khan had travelled to Pakistan and received detailed training in terrorist tactics, including espionage, handling of arms and ammunition, and making IEDs.

“He also received funds from Pakistan on various occasions for the execution of the conspiracy. After the incident, the Pakistan-based handlers had tried to facilitate the escape of the arrested accused to a foreign country through Nepal. However, they were apprehended before they could escape,” the officer said.

According to the officer, further investigation “to unearth the larger conspiracy and other entities involved in this network” is still on, and a supplementary chargesheet will be filed in the case.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: SIM cards, chats, CCTV — how police linked duo killed in Hyderpora with ‘Pakistani terrorist’


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