NIA finds Merit in Bihar Police probe pointing to ISI-backed Plot to Sabotage Railway Tracks

Shafi Shaikh, Karachi-based don and Shamshul Huda, a native of Nepal, currently settled in Dubai are behind train accidents in India: confirms NIA

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing three cases involving an attempt to blast tracks in East Champaran, the Indore-Patna Express derailment and last week’s Koneru rail accident, has prima facie found to be correct the Bihar police’s line of investigation pointing to an ISI-backed sabotage plot to cause train mishaps in India. The agency feels the ISI angle merits further probe.

Sources in NIA told that the three accused arrested in Motihari, during their recent questioning by NIA sleuths, have repeated their claims of a sabotage angle in both the failed Ghorasahan track blasting attempt as well as the Kanpur derailment. “There are no contradictions whatsoever in what they had told the Bihar police earlier and now our own sleuths. They seem to be very sure of and consistent in their ‘disclosures’. Also, technical evidence points to conversations between the arrested accused on the one hand and Nepalese handler Brij Kishore Giri, Dubai-based mastermind Shamsul Huda and Karachi-based suspected ISI agent Shafi Shaikh on the other, lending credence to the ISI involvement theory,” said a home ministry officer.

Sources following the investigation told that Umashankar Patel, one of the three accused arrested by Bihar police, had spoken to both Huda and Shaikh while they were together in Dubai in August, after being put in touch with them by Giri. “They discussed conspiracy to cause train accidents in India by planting IEDs on the tracks. The discussion was general in nature and did not raise any specific mention of the impending sabotage plans for Ghorasahan or Kanpur,” said an officer.

“That they were in direct touch with Huda as well as an alleged Karachi-based kingpin having links with ISI, has led NIA to strongly suspect an ISI angle to the alleged sabotage involving passenger trains in India,” the officer said.

With the probe into Ghorasahan sabotage attempt as well as the Kanpur train derailment now formally with NIA, its teams will be seeking custody of the accused, Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav as well others arrested in Delhi, for exhaustive questioning as well as recreation of the events leading to the said incidents. This will involve taking the accused to the Kanpur derailment site and establishing the sequence of events leading to planting of the alleged pressure cooker bomb, corroborating their journey details, establishing any money trail of payments for execution of the conspiracy and digging out technical evidence, including their mobile network details, to prove their presence at the derailment site before the incident.

Though an NIA team has already inspected the site of the latest train accident at Koneru in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh, it is yet to submit its report on the findings. “We are not risking a guess on a likely sabotage angle. Let us wait for the initial report,” said a home ministry officer.

NIA, as part of its Ghorasahan as well as Kanpur derailment probe, will seek access to the accused arrested by the Nepal police, including handler Brij Kishore Giri, for questioning. The agency may need to initiate proceedings for their extradition to face interrogation and trial in India. “This might be a time-consuming process,” said an officer.

NIA also plans to seek custody of Shamsul Huda and Karachi-based ISI link Shafi Shaikh during the course of its investigation.

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