JANAKPUR, May 18: Police on Friday said the May 1 Janakpur blast, which killed five persons, was carried out by criminals linked to different armed groups. They also made public four persons arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident.
The four made public by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) are Ripendra Jha, Mukesh Kumar Karna, Suresh Karna and Jaya Prakash Chaudhary.
They were allegedly employed by criminals to carry out the blast at Ramananda Chowk in the heart of the city when the site was being used for a sit-in.
According to CIB chief DIG Upendra Kant Aryal, who was visiting Janakpur to brief media on the investigations, the ´ultra-modern organized crime´ involved several individuals led by three masterminds--Mukesh Chaudhary, Arjun Singh and Santosh Chaudhary alias Prakash Bidhyarthi--who together formed the Tarai Students Liberation Front some six months ago.
Of the three, Santosh Chaudhary carried out several other blasts in Janakpur and elsewhere to demonstrate his clout in the criminal world, according to police. “In order to show what he could do, he carried out explosions at the CPN(UML) office in Janakpur and at the Traffic Police Office in Mahottari with the help of some youths,” the CIB investigation report says.
CIB had sent a special investigation team led by DSP Bhupendra Bahadur Khatri to probe the blast on the very day it occurred.
According to CIB, Santosh Chaudhary, who hails from Jaleshwor-11in Mahottari, had initially planned with Suresh Karna, Ripendra Jha and Mukesh Karna in the bordering Indian town of Sitamani to carry out the blast. All of them were involved in several blasts carried out by the group.
The explosives used in the Ramananda Chowk blast were stored at a private residence belonging to a relative of Suresh Karna. DSP Khatri said that Jaya Prakash Chaudhary of Bishhariya-8 in Saptrai detonated the bomb himself. Locals had overpowered him on the spot and handed him over to the police.
Mukesh Chaudhary had employed Suresh, Jitendra and Jaya Prakash to select the target venues for bombings. The CIB report says Jaya Prakash was brought in from Saptari with a promise of payment of Rs 500,000 for detonating the bomb. He was given Rs 10,000 as advance. Chaudhary had sent the amount through IME to his account at Sahayogi Development Bank in Janakpur.
Mukesh and Jaya Prakash were found to have contacted each other by mobile phone about 30 times on the day of the blast. The same day, Mukesh had sent an SMS to Jaya Prakash, instructing the latter to attach the explosive to a chair.
Initially, the explosion was thought to have gone off on a motorcycle. DIG Aryal said many things are yet to be uncovered by investigations.
The investigation team also surmises that the blast might have targeted Jeevnath Chaudhary, a former chairman of Ramananda Youth Club and accountant at the district development committee. According to an investigation official, Jayaprakash had kept watch on Jeevnath at the latter´s office for a few days before the explosion and told somebody by mobile phone about Jeevnath´s presence.
Jeevnath luckily escaped the blast and saved his life. He had gotten up and gone around the corner shortly before the blast. He has already survived three such attacks by different groups, and has a bodyguard deputed by the district police office.
Of the four arrested, Ripendra, 27, of Madai-6 in Mahottari, is a transport entrepreneur. Mukesh Kumar Karna, 28, of Bhutahipaterwa-7 in Dhanusha, and Suresh Karna, of Sapahi-1 also in Dhanusha, are regularly unemployed. Jaya Prakash Chaudhary is a 12th grader.
Santosh Chaudhary and Ranjit Jha have now been listed as most wanted criminals. Jha had taken responsibility for the murder of Arun Singhaniya, owner of Janakpur Today media group, two years ago. Both Chaudhary and Jha currently live across the border in India and enage in crimes in the Tarai, according to police.
DIG Aryal said Nepal Police has been seeking assistance from Interpol to apprehend the absconders.
Police have recovered a huge amount of explosive powder, two motorcycles used by the blast perpetrators, three remote control devices, one detonator, gunpowder, six batteries, pegs, a 9 MM bullet, Nepali and Indian SIM cards and a chequebook belonging to Jitendra.