NEW DELHI: On October 29 last year, Adapur sub-inspector Rajesh Prasad received a strange SMS message that seemed to divulge important information on a bomb blast attempted a month ago.
“SP sir, greetings!” it said in Hindi. “Save Bihar, because the group that had planted a bomb near Ghorasahan railway station in East Champaran district is now planning to carry out similar bomb attacks at five to six places. The man in charge of these operations is Umashankar Patel of Nahar Gamhariya.”
When Prasad called back on the number (9102577909), the man on the other side introduced himself as “Giri from Nepal”. Then he went on to identify Patel, the person who had allegedly planted the bomb, as a local criminal. When subsequent attempts to speak to Giri failed to get through, the matter was shrugged off as a hoax call. It wasn’t.
The caller was referring to an improvised explosive device (IED) found by passersby on a railway track near Ghorasahan on September 30. Fortunately, it had failed to explode.
The story didn’t end there. A second incident of the kind occurred on December 2, when an IED exploded on the tracks connecting Adapur and Nakardei railway stations in the same district. However, it failed to cause any damage.
A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) identified the mystery caller as Brij Kishore Giri. He was allegedly roped in by Samsul Hoda — another Nepali national — at the behest of Pakistani terrorist handler Mohammed Shafi in Karachi. Giri’s task comprised recruiting local criminals to execute explosions on tracks.
The probe into the two incidents has been completed, and the NIA wants the Union home ministry’s sanction to prosecute eight people — including Patel, Giri and Hoda — under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “Our probe has revealed a conspiracy hatched in Pakistan, Dubai, Nepal and India to damage railway bridges and derail trains,” a senior NIA official said on the condition of anonymity.
Giri and Hoda were arrested in Nepal, and an NIA team had gone there to interrogate them.
Elaborating on the accused, an investigator said Hoda had contested the elections from Bara in Nepal a few years ago. “When Shafi asked Hoda to recruit men for executing blasts in India, the latter contacted Giri in July and transferred Nepali ₹7 lakh to his account in Beergunj branch of Himalayan Bank (A/C no 00906306390014). He also deposited INR 42,000 in his Indian bank accounts,” said an investigator. Giri allegedly used this money to hire a few local criminals, including Patel, to execute the blasts.
“However, relations between Giri and Patel soured after the Ghorasahan bomb failed to detonate. Our investigation shows that five goods trains and one passenger train passed on those tracks before the IED was detected by passersby. This dispute between the two may have spurred Giri to spill the beans on Patel over the phone,” the investigator said.
The NIA believe Giri carried out the December 2 attack with a different group of criminals.