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Similar explosives used in Bihar, Chennai, Uttarakhand, Karnataka blasts: NIA

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New Delhi: Terrorists used similar explosives in the bombings at Bihar’s Gandhi Maidan, an express train in Chennai, outside a college in Uttarakhand and near a restaurant in Karnataka between 2013-2014, NIA sources said.

Sleuths of National Investigation Agency (NIA) figured this out when they managed to arrest Alam Jeb Afridi alias Javed Rafeeq, the prime accused in the December 28, 2014, Bengaluru Church Street blast. They were assisted in the effort by the Telangana Anti-terrorist Squad (ATS).

An official of the central counter-terrorism agency, which is probing all the terrorist cases since its establishment on December 31, 2008, said that the outfits behind these four attacks used Ammonium Nitrate, Sulphur and Potassium Chlorate to prepare Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

“The mixture used in preparing the IEDs was then packed in iron pipes,” the official, on condition of anonymity told News agency.

A series of bombings rocked Gandhi Maidan on October 27, 2013, killing six and injuring over 80 persons during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally attended by Narendra Modi, then the party prime ministerial candidate for the April-May 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The explosions had preceded Modi’s arrival.

Six months later, two bombs went off in two coaches of the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai Central station on May 1, 2014, in which a woman was killed and 14 others were injured.

A 10-year-old boy was killed on December 6 the same when an explosion took place metres away from a college in Roorkee in Uttarakhand where Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was holding an event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition.

Twenty-one days after this, a bomb exploded outside the Coconut Grove Bar and Restaurant at Bengaluru Church Street  on December 28, 2014, which claimed life of a woman and injured many others.

The NIA official said that the agency was yet to link the role of the same module in all four bombings. He said that Rafeeq’s interrogation has confirmed the role of the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) outfit in the Bengaluru blast.
Rafeeq had wanted to plant bomb inside the restaurant but was deterred by the presence of staff and, therefore, planted it outside near a wall, the official said.

Rafeeq, who is a SIMI member and was close to several of its top leaders, was also absconding in another case of organising a terrorist camp for the outfit at Waghamon in Kerala. He was declared an absconder with a Rs.3 lakh bounty on his head five years now. He was close to several top SIMI leaders.

The 30-year-old resident of Ahmedabad, who is now in NIA custody, informed his interrogators that he had been residing in Bengaluru for more than three years in the garb of  an air-conditioner mechanic.

NIA officials also claimed that Rafeeq’s target was an Israeli delegation that was purported to visit Coconut Grove restaurant that day. Rafeeq was the same suspect who stabbed a Telangana ATS constable, Srinivasa, the official said.

The Telangana ATS and NIA had picked him up in connection with the Ahmedabad 2008 blasts but he also confessed his involvement in the Church Street blast case, the NIA official said.

NIA sleuths are also not commenting on whether Rafeeq acted alone or if there was a larger group behind the conspiracy. NIA sleuths said that Rafeeq also carried out the attack on the Israeli visa centre in Ulsoor in Bengaluru in November 2015.

In a preliminary examination, he had disclosed that his handler had taught him the technique of making the bomb for which he procured the material locally. “During the search of his residence is Bangalore, the investigators recovered a lot of anti-Semitic hate literature,” the NIA official said. (IANS) (picture courtesy: fastcoexist.com)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)