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Police investigation into attack on IISc. reaches a dead end

K.V. Subramanya

A senior scientist was killed in the incident on December 28, 2005

NO HEADWAY: The then Bangalore Police Commissioner Ajaikumar Singh showing the computer image of the suspect in the IISc. attack in Bangalore in December 2005. — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

BANGALORE: Efforts made by the Bangalore police to trace the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives who are believed to have been behind the terrorist attack on the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) campus a year ago have not yielded any results.

It was on the night of December 28, 2005, that armed intruders opened fire at people walking out of an international conference at the J.N. Tata Auditorium, killing a scientist and injuring four others.

One year after the incident, the city police are still struggling to ascertain the identity of the gunmen who opened fire. Commissioner of Police Neelam Achuta Rao told The Hindu on Wednesday that the investigation has "reached a dead end".

Though the police have been gathering information about the activities of LeT, they have no clues on those who were involved in the IISc. attack, he said.

The police arrested seven people with alleged terrorist links after the attack and even filed charge sheets against them in the court.

However, it transpired that none of them was connected with the IISc. attack, the commissioner said.

The investigation into the incident has, however, helped the police in unearthing the Lashkar's network in the State and also in foiling its plans. While Central intelligence agencies over the years have been alerting the police of possible terrorist attacks on vital installations in Bangalore, the police did not have specific information on the network of jehadi groups here.

Soon after the IISc. incident, the city police on January 1, 2005 arrested, who, they believe, is Lashkar's south India chief Abdul Rehman from Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh.

On the information provided by Rehman, they apprehended several persons in Karnataka who allegedly had links with the Lashkar. Some of them had reportedly undergone arms training abroad and were in constant touch with Rehman.

By arresting the suspected LeT operatives, the police believe that they have foiled their plans to carry out attacks on sensitive targets. The suspected operatives, the police allege, had plans to attack the Kaiga nuclear plant, Sharavathi power transmission lines, the Alamatti Dam and some vital installations in Bangalore.

A senior official connected with the investigation said that the Bangalore police had hardly investigated a jehadi attack. "We had to start from scratch as we had little inputs about the jehadi outfits."

Now, the Bangalore police have not only gained some experience in handling such cases but also created a data bank on the terrorist groups, he said.

Police officials from the city have visited Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and some other States, interacted with their counterparts there and learnt more about terrorist groups and their operations.

The police have also learnt about the various channels through which arms and ammunition are smuggled out of Kashmir, for instance through the apple cartons that originate from Kashmir, he said.

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