NIA releases two sketches of a suspect in Bodh Gaya blasts
PTI Gaya, July 16, 2013
A sketch of the suspect involved in the Bodh Gaya serial blasts. Photo courtesy: NIA
A file photo of a temple damaged at the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya after serial blasts on July 7. Photo: PTI
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the serial bomb blasts in Bodh Gaya, on Tuesday released two sketches of a suspect on the basis of eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage.
NIA released two sketches, one in which the suspect is wearing a mask and another bare face, on its website.
Sources in NIA said that the sketches have been released on the basis of details provided by three eyewitnesses who saw the suspect before the blasts on July 7 and from CCTV footage.
Among the witnesses, whose names have been kept secret for probe purposes, two are foreigners and one local. The foreigners are from Sri Lanka and Thailand while the third one is a local Gaya native, the sources said.
The suspect in monk attire is also seen moving around in the temple in the wee hours of July 7. NIA has also released CCTV footage and sought information about the suspect.
The agency has already announced a reward of Rs. 6 lakh for providing information about the blasts suspect.
Ten bomb blasts took place in the famous Buddhist temple town of Bodh Gaya on July 7 in which two monks were wounded. While four explosions took place inside the Mahabodhi shrine campus, the rest exploded elsewhere in Bodh Gaya. Three live bombs were also defused by the security forces.
Considering the sensitivity of the matter, the Bihar government had handed over the inquiry to NIA.
Arrested and released
NIA had earlier detained two natives of Gaya from Maoist-infested Barachhati and four youngsters, including a girl, in Patna in connection with the incident. But, they were all released for want of evidence.
Private security guards removed
Taking strong note of security lapses resulting in serial bomb blasts in Maha Bodhi temple recently, the service of the private security company within the temple premises has been terminated.
Maha Bodhi Temple Management Committee (BTMC) took decision to terminate contract of private security company “COBRA” for lapses that resulted in explosions within the temple on July 7, wounding two monks.
The BTMC took strong exception to the fact that while the blasts took place after 5:30 a.m. on that day, why the guards of the security company, who are supposed to be on duty from 5 a.m. in the morning, did not see the bags that carried bombs kept near Maha Bodhi tree and elsewhere within the shrine premises, BTMC member Arvind Kumar said on Tuesday.
He said the committee served a month’s notice to the company to pack off from the temple.
COBRA had been assigned the job of security within the temple since 2009. The outer security was in the hands of Bihar police earlier.
With COBRA security guards withdrawn, security guards of BTMC are assisting the Bihar Military Police (BMP) personnel in providing security to the international Buddhist shrine.
Sources in the BTMC said despite previous alerts, some meetings by senior police and civil officers were conducted with the secretary or chairman of the committee but a meeting of the full bench of the BTMC was never conducted to review security arrangements.
Meanwhile BTMC has ordered for two additional metal detectors and bag checkers for frisking of visitors.