New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Considering the new dimension of terror attacks in hinterland through proxy war by Pakistan, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has slapped Weapons of Mass Destruction and Delivery System (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act in Bodh Gaya terror attack case which took place on January 19. This is the first occasion where the WMD Act has been invoked by a probe agency in India in a terror related case.
The NIA took over the investigation into the case from Bihar Police following a directive from the Union Home Ministry on February 3.
On the basis of prima facie suspicion, the Probe agency has imposed some section of WMD after the recovery of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was made of materials falling under the category of weapons of mass destruction, though the exact nature or the category of the material will be determined once the forensic analysis test reports are available, an agency source said. “The material in question could be a chemical toxin intended for mass killing”, added the source.
Sections 14, 17 and 19 of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Delivery System (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 have been applied in this case, according to the FIR.
The Act is aimed at prosecuting persons accused of unlawful activities relating to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems including those nuclear, chemical toxin and bacteriological (biological) materials. The Act provides for a minimum punishment of five year to life imprisonment along with monetary fine.
The NIA has also slapped Section 16, 18 and 20 of the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, provisions of the Indian Penal Code relating to conspiracy, waging war against the nation and promoting enmity between groups besides the Explosive Substances Act.
The Act came into force in 2005 as part of integrated legal measures to exercise controls over the export of materials, equipment and technologies and to prohibit unlawful activities in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The Bihar Police had registered the case on January 20 this year at Bodh Gaya police station relating to recovery and explosion of IED on January 19 near ‘Kalachakra Maidan’ and other places.
The explosive was hidden in a Milton flask containing gelatin stick and detonators. Incidentally, the attack was carried out at a time when Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was there in the temple town to address thousands of devotees from around the world at the shrine as part of a Buddhist festivity there. Two more IEDs were found in the temple vicinity.
The sources said the IED recovered from the shrine’s south gate which was packed in an unusual large flask and is suspected to contain the WMD material. The NIA is likely to take custody of two Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh operatives arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad ofthe Bihar police from Kolkata in connection with the case.