CB-CID police coordinate with NIA to crack Chennai train blasts case

Four days after the twin blasts on a train at the Chennai Central, investigators are suspecting the role of the home-grown terror group, Indian Mujahideen (IM), in the terrorist act that claimed the life of a woman passenger and injured 14 others.

While the IM is also suspected to have been involved in the blasts at Patna last October ahead of a rally by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the Tamil Nadu CB-CID police are coordinating with the National Investigating Agency (NIA) probing the Patna blasts, top police sources told The Hindu on Monday.

The State police’s coordination covers tracking the location and movements of the “suspects absconding in the Patna blasts case,” the sources said. The arrested accused in the case were also being quizzed about their alleged associates at large, they said.

The timer devices, planted in two coaches of the Bangalore-Guwahati Express, exploded on May 1, shortly after the train reached Chennai Central that morning beyond schedule. The probe team had, inferring from the train’s delayed arrival, said that if not for the delay, the bombs could have gone off in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where Mr. Modi had addressed election meetings later that day.

The CB-CID investigators were further probing other angles to the motives, sources said. They are also looking at other possible targets, particularly why the attackers chose the Guwahati-bound train and whether it was meant to be a ‘retaliatory’ message sought to be conveyed after the recent killings of Muslims in Assam, the sources said.

In widening their investigation, the CB-CID police were coordinating with their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Bihar and West Bengal and shared the CCTV footage with them. On how the bombs could have been triggered to explode in Tamil Nadu, the sources explained that timer devices were usually programmed up to seven hours, as was done in the Chinnasamy Stadium blast in Bangalore during the IPL a couple of years ago.

Flutter at Katpadi

Meanwhile, CB-CID sleuths, who took a look at the CCTV footage from the cameras fixed at the Katpadi station on Monday, were stunned to find that a man waiting on the platform in the early hours of May 1 there resembled the suspect spotted in the Chennai Central CCTV footage released by the police earlier.

The “height and dress colour” of the man standing on the platform of the Katpadi station by 4. 02 a.m. on May 1 was similar to the man hurriedly coming out of Chennai Central, police sources in Vellore said.

The Bangalore-Guwahati Express, scheduled to reach Katpadi by 3.13 a.m., arrived that day at 4.42 a.m., raising queries whether the man who planted the bomb had boarded the train at Katpadi.

But the video did not show the man carrying any backpack.

However, the poor quality pictures have prevented the CB-CID sleuths from coming to any definitive conclusion so far.