Another terror plot originating from J&K foiled13 October 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: A major terror strike plotted jointly by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and ‘Khalistan Zindabad Force’ (KZF) in the Union capital of New Delhi ahead of festival season was foiled in a joint operation conducted by New Delhi and Haryana police with the help of Intelligence agencies by seizing an Indica car at Ambala Railway Station in Haryana, loaded with explosives packed and sent from Jammu and Kashmir late last night. The latest terror plot, which was thwarted timely, came a little over a month after a blast triggered outside Delhi High Court on September 7 by the militants of Kishtwar district of Jammu region with the help of some modules that killed 15 civilians and injured 80 others. The car bearing fake registration number 0054 HR03R had entered Jammu from Lakhanpur, gateway of Jammu and Kashmir, at 12 noon on October 4 and returned carrying explosive material concealed in two sweet boxes of ‘Pahalwan Di Hatti’ on October 12 at 8 am. The sweet boxes were wrapped with two newspapers of October 12, published from Jammu, one a local English daily and another a national Hindi newspaper, which indicated that the vehicle had left Jammu at around 6 am and crossed Lakhanpur at 8 am. The entry and exit of the car has been recorded at Lakhanpur toll plaza, official sources said, adding the fake registration number was registered on the name of a trading firm of a Panchkula based businessman. The blue colored Indica, which had virtually been converted into a ‘car bomb’ was laden with 5.65 kg explosive material, concealed in sweet boxes, 7 detonators contained in a plastic box wrapped with brown adhesive tapes, two timers hidden in the cavity of window rolling machine of the front door of the car, link wire, four fuses, registration papers and toll receipts of Shambu Barrier and Ladowal. Official sources said two militants were traveling in the car and they have been captured in CCTV footage of one of the two barriers. The footage was being studied by a joint team of New Delhi and Haryana Police, which was also being joined in investigations by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Jammu Police. The National Security Guards (NSG) team has also reached Ambala. Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda told the Excelsior that police was working on all leads including a possible nexus between the LeT and KZF outfits, who might have jointly plotted the terror strike. He said a police team from Jammu led by SP Operations (Pawan Parihar) has left for Ambala to co-ordinate in investigations. Asserting that ‘Babbar Khalsa International’ (BKI) was not an active outfit in Jammu, Mr Khoda said police had reports that ‘KZF’ was trying to revive itself. The KZF is headed by Ranjeet Singh alias Neeta of Simbal, Jammu, who was presently operating from Lahore in Pakistan. The DGP added that he has issued immediate directions to the IGP Jammu to launch Mobile Vehicle Check Posts (MVCPs) and install CCTVs at all sensitive points on the National Highway to keep strict vigil on the anti-national elements. He said the directions have also been issued to identify the nakas crossed by the car and take action against the cops, who failed to check the ‘car bomb’. He disclosed that police have been asked to stop fixed nakas and go for random checking as there were reports that the explosive laden car might have taken alternative routes to avoid fixed nakas. Mr Khoda said Haryana DGP Ranjiv Dalal spoke to him on telephone and sought assistance of Jammu and Kashmir Police in working out the terror plot. 'We have assured and extended our full support’’, he added. IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh reviewed the situation at a high level meeting this evening. He called upon the police to remain on a high alert. He asked the district police chiefs to start surprise nakas all along the highway and other places to trace the place where the car was loaded with explosive material. IGP Kashmir SM Sahai said Kashmir Police was also trying to find out the facts but the car’s entry or exit hasn’t been recorded at Lower Munda. Sources said since the car entered Jammu on October 4, there was a possibility that it remained parked at a hideout of the militants and a workshop waiting for fabrication and the consignment of explosive material, detonators and timers etc. The car’s entry has been recorded at Lakhanpur toll plaza at 12 noon on October 4. They added that it carried the consignment and was driven by two militants yesterday morning from Jammu towards Ambala. It’s exit at Lakhanpur toll plaza was recorded at 8 am on October 12. According to sources, it was being ascertained as to where the car was loaded with explosive material. 'The spot could be anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir but since the role of ‘KZF’ is emerging, the possibility of supply of explosives somewhere in Jammu including the border areas is not ruled out’’, they said, adding the ‘KZF’ might have helped the BKI in the terror plot hatched jointly with the LeT outfit. During eight days in Jammu, the car might have been parked at some safe place. The possibility of use of a workshop to load it with explosives is being looked into. The old contacts of Neeta are also being quizzed. Some other suspects have also been called for questioning. No entry or exit of the car’s fake registration number has been traced at Lower Munda toll in Kashmir. However, quite often some vehicles skipped toll posts but since the car was laden with explosives and driven by the militants, it paid toll at all the barriers including Lakhanpur in Jammu, Shambu and Ladowal in Punjab and Haryana to avoid being chased. However, according to sources, at one of the toll post, the CCTV footage has shown that the car had two occupants, one of whom was driving the vehicle while another was sitting with him on front seat. Both of them were believed to be the militants. According to inputs developed by the Intelligence agencies of different States, the two militants, who drove the car from Jammu and Kashmir to Ambala in Haryana, had been assigned the task of parking the car in the backyard of Railway Station from where it could have been taken over by some other militants. However, there were reports that the same militants parked the car at isolated place as they developed doubts after observing massive police checking at Ambala. Sources said intelligence agencies had intercepted a call from Nepal 10 days ago, which indicated about the exchange of explosives. The information was 'sketchy' and revealed that explosives were to be taken to a north Indian metropolis, they said. Delhi Police shared the input with their Haryana counterparts as Ambala was mentioned in the input. Sources said a SMS was also received on a mobile telephone of J&K from Nepal which said 'Diwali Mubarak Ho, Kuch Khaas Hona Chahiye.' The Intelligence agencies in New Delhi had also developed inputs that the militants could plant a car bomb in the capital by transporting it from J&K. Reportedly, the Intelligence agencies had inputs that the car would exchange hands at Ambala and that is why the town had been put on a very high alert. The militants abandoned the car near the Railway Station and left the spot. Police parties from Haryana and New Delhi besides the Intelligence agencies, which were on high alert seized the car late last night and recovered the consignment. A hunt has been launched for the militants, whose sketches are being released shortly with the help of CCTV footage. All rest houses and hotels in Ambala have been subjected to searches but there was no trace of the militants, who might have skipped from the spot. Though roads lead to several States from Ambala, the inputs were that the car was to be driven to New Delhi and parked at a crowded area ahead of Diwali festival. Sources said the blue color India car appeared to be a stolen vehicle. The involvement of LeT and BKI (or KZF) has surfaced since the vehicle was driven to Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab for carrying explosive material. It was then again being driven to New Delhi. As both States of Punjab and J&K figured in the terror plot, the possibility has emerged that it was a joint plot of the two outfits. Recently, there had been reports of a nexus developing between Punjab and J&K militants, which were corroborated with the reports that Neeta was trying to revive ‘KZF’ in Jammu. According to sources, two sweet boxes appeared to have been purchased by the militants from ‘Pahalwan Di Hatti’ at Bari Brahamana on the National Highway in which five kg explosive material was concealed. The sweet boxes were then packed with October 12 newspapers before the car left Jammu for Ambala on way to New Delhi. Sources said though there were several nakas on the National Highways, the vehicle didn’t appear to have been frisked anywhere enroute and the militants successfully managed to take it up to Ambala. According to sources, police didn’t wait for the militant handlers to come as they feared that the explosives inside could went off. They took over possession of the car and handed it over to the Bomb Disposal Squad. Describing the laxity of police officials on naka duty as ‘security lapse’, sources said it has necessitated top police brass to issue instructions for random checking instead of fixed nakas besides installation of CCTVs and taking action against the cops, who were on naka duty at the time when the car crossed the highway. Sources said a militant had earlier also used the sweet boxes to carry explosive material from Jammu to New Delhi, where he was arrested. They added that even if the vehicles are frisked the sweet boxes are not opened by the police personnel as a number of people take sweets of Jammu’s shop to their homes. The DGP said there were no doubts over police claims that Doda and Reasi districts were free of militancy but admitted that the militants kept on moving from one place to another. 'Some groups of militants are active. There is no doubt about that. However, police too have killed many militants and solved various blast mysteries. We will work it out. We will find out the militants with the help of police of other States. We would also work on way and means to ensure that terror plots originating from Kishtwar and other parts of J&K to New Delhi are not repeated’’, he added and said 'police was going deep into the case’’. Police authorities were not completely ruling out the explosives having been smuggled from across the border as Neeta had good contacts on both sides of the border. Moreover, police had recently arrested a couple of cross-border smugglers here and recovered a large quantity of fake currency, smuggled from Pakistan for terror funding, from their possession. 'As the sweets boxes belonged to a Jammu shop and newspapers in which they had been concealed are also published here, the possibility was emerging that explosives could have been laden in the vehicle somewhere in Jammu especially the border belt’’, sources said but added that investigations were at a preliminary stage and ‘Kashmir angle has not been ruled out’. Sources said the engine and chassis numbers of the car are being used to trace its owner but admitted that even this might not help the investigators as the car appeared to be a stolen vehicle. It may be mentioned here that September 7 blast outside Delhi High Court had also been planned and executed in Kishtwar district of Jammu. Three students of Kishtwar including the one studying at Dhaka have already been arrested by the NIA in connection with the blast and sending terror email claiming responsibility of the terror strike while three militants operating in Kishtwar were being searched. PTI adds from Ambala and New Delhi A team of Delhi Police and their Haryana counterparts found the explosives in a blue Indica car parked outside the railway station, about 200 km from Delhi, last night following probe into inputs provided by intelligence agencies 10 days ago that a consignment of explosives is headed to a north Indian metro. Though the initial inputs were general in nature, sources said, Delhi Police was provided specific inputs, including the make of the vehicle used for carrying the explosives and that the exchange will take place in Ambala, last evening. The information was passed on to Haryana Police and a joint team of Delhi and Haryana Police tracked down the car to Ambala railway station. Sources said the car-laden with explosives, which one would have needed to assemble to carry out a blast, was abandoned by its occupants who may have become suspicious when police carried out searches after waiting for someone to turn up. 'We had inputs that an LeT module active in Jammu and Kashmir was planning to strike in Delhi. Investigations were done and found that the explosives were meant for BKI and to be used in Delhi. We received a specific input yesterday about the movement,' Arun Kampani, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), told reporters in Delhi. 'Bomb disposal squads and forensic experts from Madhubani FSL rushed to the spot. Five kg of black explosives contained in three packets wrapped with brown adhesive tapes were recovered,' Kampani said. An alert had been sounded in Haryana and neighbouring Punjab and security personnel have been asked to remain on alert and maintain strict vigil and track any suspicious movement of people or vehicles. When asked if the intended target of the terror plot could have been Delhi, Haryana’s Director General of Police Ranjiv Dalal said, 'senior officers from various investigating and security agencies are here. We are probing every angle'. As the cantonment area is located in Ambala, police would also be probing if the target could have been a military installation in the region. The explosives have been sent for forensic test and a team of National Security Guard (NSG) from Delhi arrived at the spot, police said, adding the nature of explosives was being studied. The tyres of the vehicle and some other parts were removed to check for presence of any more explosives, the sources said. In view of the approaching Diwali festival, vigil has been stepped up around key installations and crowded public places including the railway stations in the State, police said. A search by Haryana Police of the car did not yield much. However, sources said, Delhi Police Special Cell personnel found traces of explosives, which led to the seizure. Asked whether they could have waited for the handlers to arrive, the official said it was not possible as they feared that there could be an explosion. 'We did not know what was inside. So we could not wait for more,' the official said.