The four who were never suspects

A security officer with a sniffer dog inspects the premises of Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya on Tuesday.  

The four ‘suspects’ who were ‘held’ and later ‘released’ in fact came to the police station on their own to state their presence at the blasts site, the Patna police told The Hindu.

“They were never picked by us or the National Investigation Agency. We got the information that four people were claiming to have been present at the Bodh Gaya temple just before the blasts. So I called them to my office at 5 p.m. They said they were innocent and ready for any inquiry. They just happened to be at the temple before the incident,” Jayant Kant, Superintendent of Police, Patna city, told The Hindu.

The foursome, including a woman, had checked into Tathagat Hotel in Bodh Gaya. “They checked in under their real names. We verified that and referred them to the NIA. They went to Bodh Gaya where the NIA questioned them and let them go. Where is the question of their detention and release?” Mr. Kant said.

All the four are Indian nationals.

Alarmed at their depiction as suspects in the media, Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj told The Hindu that the four had their own careers, which were at stake because of the negative publicity. “They came to the SP’s office on their own after the CCTV footage was released,” he said.

Carpenter let off

Meanwhile, carpenter Vinod Mistri, who was questioned the day after the blasts, has also been let off. “He has gone home now,” a top source said.

The NIA has questioned “nearly 40 people, mostly guards and supervisors,” sources said. The likelihood of the Indian Mujahideen hand remains a definite line of investigation, even as an unverified tweet purportedly by the IM claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Asked if the Hindutva terror angle was also being explored, a source told The Hindu earlier, “Right now it appears to be the Indian Mujahideen, but we have not closed any option.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:17:44 AM |

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