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Israel Car bombing: India to seek help from 4 nations

New Delhi: With no word from Tehran yet, India is all set to send legal request letters to four nations including Iran seeking help in its probe into the bombing of an Israeli embassy`s vehicle here in February.

Official sources said today that Letters Rogatory for Iran, Malaysia, Thailand and Georgia has been sent to Union Home Ministry for vetting after which it would sent to Legals and Treaty Division of Ministry of External Affairs to be sent to these respective countries. The sources said Iran had been earlier requested through diplomatic channels for help in tracing Houshang Afshar, who had planted a bomb on the vehicle of Israeli diplomat Tal Yeshua on February 13 in the vicinity of high-security residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

However, in absence of any word from Iran, the Government decided to send a Letters Rogatory to Tehran so that it could furnish the same document before a court here which has given Delhi Police additional 90 days to file a chargesheet in the case. There has been one arrest so far in this case. The phone book of Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, who was arrested by Malaysian police from Kuala Lumpur airport, led sleuths from external and internal security agencies to Indian journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi after which the entire conspiracy started opening up.

The second request is being sent to Malaysia for sharing all evidence and statement of Sedaghatzadeh, who had managed to flee from Bangkok on February 13 following a botched up plan to target Israeli nationals there, the sources said. Sources said Malaysian government, which had been cooperative in this case, had, however, made it clear to Indian authorities that Sedaghatzadeh would not be extradited to India as Thai authorities had already made request for him.

This move prompted Indian authorities to send a formal request asking authorities in Kuala Lumpur to share all evidence, which could help in establishing role of Kazmi in the criminal conspiracy, the sources said. A similar request was being sent to Thai authorities for sharing the interrogation reports of two Iranian nationals — Saeid Moradi and Mohammad Kharzei (both part of botched up plan in Bangkok) — as one of them was a part of the Indian operations as well and had visited New Delhi last year, the sources said.

India would request Thai authorities to provide a certified copies of its probe which included pictures of Sedaghatzadeh and two other bombers — Moradi and Kharzei with some women escorts in Pattaya. The photos, taken by one of the women from her mobile phone, purportedly shows the three Iranians at a Middle Eastern bar surrounded by hookah water-pipes, and enjoying the company of the females. Bangkok police had also recorded statement of one of the women escorts, shared with police, which says that that Kharzei had asked her to escort him as he was not good in speaking or conversing in English language.

India has secured an Interpol Red Corner warrant against all the four. India will also be sending a Letters Rogatory to Georgia where Afshar had visited on June 25. The mobile phone used by the accused was switched on in Georgian capital for 14 seconds after which the Indian number was not used. Sources in the probe agency believe that the phone had been switched on to change to a different SIM card.

The Letters Rogatory will furnish the unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number used by Afshar in India and would request the authorities in Tiblisi to check from the operators about the mobile SIM card used in the same mobile phone and the calls made thereafter. Recently, a court here on June 2 gave three more months to Delhi Police for filing a chargesheet in the case. Kazmi was arrested on March 6.

The explosive used for the bombing here was TNT — Trinitrotoluene, the Central Forensic Sciences (CFSL) had said in its report two months after the incident in which an lady envoy was seriously injured. "It is established from samples picked from the scene of crime that TNT was used as explosive material," a 31-page CFSL report sent to the Delhi Police said.

TNT, which was first used in 1902 as explosive material when Germans filled it in artillery shells, is a termed as an insensitive explosive which enables it to be poured while in liquid form into shell cases. TNT is insensitive to shock as well as friction, which allows it to be transported and used without much risk for accidental detonation. It is also water-resistant, which allows it to be used in wet environments.

According to the investigators who have been closely coordinating with intelligence agencies of other countries, the terror attack was allegedly carried out by Tevhid-Selam-Quds, an organisation which is being handled from Iran. Its operatives are trained and equipped with weapons, ammunition and explosives especially in handling of TNT and C4.

The members of this group have a history of carrying out terrorist attacks on Israel like those in Turkey which includes the murder of Israeli security officer Ehud Sadan in 1992. According to the sources, evidence collected so far which includes a statement of Kazmi to Delhi Police, indicates that the spate of attacks planned in New Delhi, Bangkok and Georgia was to take revenge for attacks on Iranian scientists since 2009. Four Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in attacks since 2009.

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