The Crime Branch is still searching for clues to unravel the mystery behind the twin explosions in the city a year ago, writes Biju Govind.
Exactly a year after the twin blasts in Kozhikode city, the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) Special Investigation Team (SIG)-III, which has been entrusted with the case, has not made any significant breakthrough in the investigations.
Over 200 people were interrogated in the case, which was initially investigated by the local police, then by the Special Investigation Team of the City Police and now by the Crime Branch. So far no arrest has been recorded.
The first blast occurred at the KSRTC bus station on Mavoor Road at 12.45 p.m. and the second one, 10 minutes later, at the Mofussil bus station, less than a kilometre away. A police constable and a head load worker sustained minor injuries in the second explosion. The bombs went off soon after anonymous calls were received at the office of an evening newspaper and the District Collectorate.
Although the police then claimed to have identified eyewitnesses who had seen the culprits involved in the explosions it remains a mystery that the Crime Branch has not been able to crack open the case. The Kannur Range Deputy Inspector General of Police V. Shantaram then had also released two sketches of the suspects on the basis of descriptions given by the eyewitnesses.
During the investigations by the SIT led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (District Crime Records Bureau) T.F. Xaviour, it had interrogated several people including activists of several fundamentalist outfits based in Kozhikode. The team also made much headway in the investigations such as tracing one of the suspects residing at Kottakkal in Malappuram district. However, before the SIT could nab him the suspect fled to Dubai. Investigating officers had also confirmed that the materials used for the blasts were potassium chlorate and carbon but it had not been able to establish whether timer devices or remote control equipment were used in blasting the explosives.
Mr. Xaviour associated with the investigation after the case was handed over to the CB-CID in June. It was on the basis of his report the Crime Branch sleuths interrogated K. Shamsudeen, a Keralite who was arrested by the Coimbatore police for planning a terrorist attack in that city. He had also made a preliminary investigation into the role of Shamsudeen, who belonged to the extremist outfit Manitha Needhi Paasarai based in Tamil Nadu. Though Shamsudeen hails from Ramanathapuram near Coimbatore, the roots of his family are at Mammiyur, near Guruvayur.
Till now the Crime Branch investigations, it appears, have remained stuck where the SIT investigations stopped in a case believed to have mastermind by terrorists. But it interrogated Mohammed Fahad, an Al-Badr activist arrested by Mysore police for plotting to attack Government buildings in Karnataka in October. It was however a futile attempt. This Pakistani citizen was brought to Kozhikode for questioning in connection with the case of securing a fake passport from a travel agency in Malappuram district.
The 3/3 explosions have strengthened the doubts that terrorists have been active in north Kerala. The failure of the police to crack the cases of the explosion that destroyed a fishing boat at Beypore in September 2005 and the seizure of 45 gelignite sticks at the KSRTC bus stand in January 2006 also strengthens this belief.