Were the twin bomb blasts in a train at the Chennai Central Railway Station in southern India on Thursday morning a terror plot gone awry and actually aimed at a top leader?
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which usually conducts investigations into terror cases, has been entrusted with the task of probing the blasts.
It will take some time for the NIA to unravel all the contours of conspiracy and answer the million-dollar question: Were the bombs actually meant to be used against politicians, particularly Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate?
No terror outfit can gain traction by exploding low-intensity bombs inside a train and killing one woman and injuring 14. Even the lone techie was killed because one of the bombs was placed right under her seat and there was not much damage to the train.
Tamil Nadu's top cop K. Ramanujam said: “It is not a major blast … damage to the train is not heavy.” Incidentally, the train was running late by two hours. A security alert was issued in Tamil Nadu state as well as in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh further afield.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said: “Earlier, we met the ministry concerned and informed about the threat to our senior leaders including Modi. Today's explosion happened near the place where Modi held a rally yesterday.”
Modi had addressed a rally in Tirupati in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, which is 140 km from Chennai.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram dismissed the BJP's claims saying adequate security has been provided to Modi who has thus far addressed 400 rallies across the country. “No one can point a finger on security provided (to Modi).”
This is the first incidence of a terror bombing since the general elections process started on April 7.
Chennai’s blasts have come two days after an alleged Inter Services Intelligence operative Zahir Hussein was arrested in Chennai for plotting to attack foreign missions.