Ahmedabad: It's been exactly a year since 22 bomb blasts ripped through this Gujarat city leaving 59 dead and over 100 injured. But after a Rs 9 lakh investigation bill, the police still are unable to trace down 37 suspects in the case.
The investigating agencies say they are yet to put all the pieces of the plot together because the suspected terror group behind the blast, Indian Mujahideen (IM) has a complex and wide web of links across the country, particularly in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
"There are 18 'bomb planters' of the serial blasts who have already been identified and booked during the past one year by the Gujarat police," a senior official of the criminal investigation department said.
WHAT NEXT? 22 bomb blasts ripped through Ahmedabad leaving 59 dead in July 2008.
"Some of the alleged master minds involved in the Ahmedabad serial blasts have also been identified and arrested, such as Safdar Nagori the founder member of the IM who planned training camps for the recruits at Halol (in Gujarat) before the serial blasts in Ahmedabad," he said.
He said the other key master minds of the Ahmedabad serial blasts were Abdul Subhan, who is believed to have fled the country and is in Nepal, and Amir Raza Khan, who is believed to be in Karachi in Pakistan.
In all there are still a total of 37 people, who are untraceable and conspired or directly participated in the blasts in Ahmedabad, he said.
The pattern of terror in Ahmedabad also had new methods, such as hospitals being targeted for the first time.
At least 32 of the 59 victims of the blasts were at the government civil hospital.
The terrorists also for the first time used cars for planting bombs with LPG cylinder in one of them.
"The informer network of the Gujarat police did help make some arrests but the rest all is still dependent on the co-operation of the police of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to nab the accused who might be hiding in these states," the official said.
Learning a hard lesson from the Ahmedabad serial blasts and a failed attempt by the terrorists to plant bombs in Surat, the Gujarat government has now planned a marine commando force.
The state government also increased the number of personnel in its Special Operations Group (SOG), a highly trained undercover force for counter terrorist operations, but the unit is still awaiting the modern weaponry promised to it.
Ironically, even after the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the Gujarat government is still yet to fill up all the vacancies in its anti-terror and intelligence units.
In the SOG units, there are as many as 34 personnel less than the sanctioned strength of 78.
The SOG had played a key role along with the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and the Anti Terrorist Squad in nabbing many of the key accused of the serial blasts.
"After the Mumbai terror attacks most of the state's borders and the costal regions are now under better surveillance than ever before," commented an SOG official.