Sunday, 14 September, 2008

Modi alerted PM about Delhi blasts: Advani

Bangalore, Sep 13 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had 10 days ago alerted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the serial bomb blasts that rocked New Delhi, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani said here late Saturday.

"About 10 days ago, Modi told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan in Delhi that interrogation of the accused involved in the July 26 Ahmedabad blasts had revealed similar serial blasts were planned to take place in the national capital," Advani revealed, raising eyebrows.

Addressing a mammoth crowd at the party's first Vijay Sankalp rally at the National College grounds here, Advani said the accused, linked with the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), did not tell where and when the bomb blasts would take place but had claimed it would be in Delhi.

"Modi's alert or warning to the prime minister was not an apprehension but (it was) on the basis of sustained investigation that was done by the Gujarat police and which made him realise it was going to happen even in the capital. Modi also told the PM that it was for the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government to pursue the matter," Advani recalled.

Modi was on the dais along with BJP president Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other party leaders when Advani made the remarks after condemning the blasts and expressed condolence to the victims of the Delhi blasts.

It was mediapersons who first told Leader of Opposition Advani about the six blasts in the national capital when he was about to leave the state guesthouse for the public rally venue.

"They (mediapersons) wanted my reaction to the ghastly incident. I told them I cannot say anything now, as I did not I have details. All the same, I condemn them and express concern that serial blasts have occurred again, this time in Delhi," Advani said.

Sharing his anguish on the series of terror blasts that have taken place over the years in major cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, Advani said the UPA government, which had been "soft on terror elements", could not blame the Delhi blasts as "failure of intelligence".

"The refrain of the UPA government had been to blame the Intelligence Bureau (IB) all along for the various blasts. This time, the government can't even tell that the Delhi blasts took place due to the intelligence failure. If the IB failed, our Gujarat chief minister had already forewarned them," Advani asserted.

In this context, Advani also criticised the central home ministry for failing to provide evidence to a Delhi High Court tribunal on extending the ban on SIMI recently. The tribunal had last month asked the government to lift the ban, though the government approached the Supreme Court within days and the ban was restored.

"It was the NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) government that first banned SIMI and submitted hard evidence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, for extending the ban three times.

"But when the UPA government was asked to present evidence before the tribunal for extending the ban, the home ministry failed to do so. As a result, the tribunal was compelled to revoke the ban in the absence of hard evidence from the ministry to justify the continuation of ban.

"It is a matter of relief that the Supreme Court intervened and reimposed the ban on SIMI," Advani noted.

Modi says he alerted PM, Gujarat police clueless

Bangalore/Ahmedabad, Sep 13 (IANS) As six blasts shook the national capital Saturday, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said he had alerted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the terror plot on the basis of the interrogation of suspects but the Gujarat police said they had "no inkling" of any threat to New Delhi.

"Suspects arrested after the Ahmedabad blasts had told our police clearly that very soon there will be blasts in Delhi. They had said that all preparations for the blasts have been completed and only orders to carry them out were awaited," Modi told reporters in Bangalore.

"Ten days ago, when I met the prime minister, the home minister (Shivraj Patil) and the National Security Adviser (M.K. Narayanan) in New Delhi, I had specifically alerted them that the terrorists being interrogated by the Gujarat police had indicated Delhi was going to be their next target," Modi told reporters.

"The terrorists had said they were going to target Delhi in the near future, though we did not have specific dates or places," he added.

While senior Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani repeated Modi's remarks at a Bangalore rally and said his alert was no heeded, the Gujarat police said there was no specific information on the Delhi blast plot.

"We had no inkling of any plot for the Delhi blasts in the near future from the interrogation of SIMI activists so far. We knew they were desperate and they would be doing it at some other place," said Ashish Bhatia, joint commissioner of police (Crime Branch) of Ahmedabad, told IANS.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) R.V. Ansari said: "No clues. Absolutely no clues came of the Delhi angle during interrogation of the SIMI activists by Ahmedabad crime branch.

"We suspected something was in the offing. These men are pathologically inclined to do what they want do as long as they are not caught," Ansari told IANS.

The Gujarat police have been interrogating 10 Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists along with their leader Saffar Nagori in connection with the July 26 serial bombings in Ahmedabad that claimed 56 lives.

The Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Ahmedabad as well as in New Delhi.

Gujarat Director General of Police P.P. Pande had last month said the Indian Mujahideen was nothing but a new front of the banned SIMI.

Modi, in Bangalore to attend the BJP national executive meeting which began Friday, said innocent people were being killed due to "the soft policy adopted by the central government".

He said the states should be allowed to frame anti-terror laws to combat extemism.

Modi said he had raised the issue of terrorism earlier Saturday during the national executive meet.

"If we want to fight terrorism, the country will have to unite against terrorists," he said.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate Advani also told the party's Vijay Sankalp Yatra in Bangalore later Saturday that Modi had informed the prime minister and the home minister of the threat.

"Modi had alerted the prime minister and the home minister 10 days back that interrogation of SIMI activists in Ahmedabad had revealed that next blasts would be in Delhi," Advani said.

"Modi's alert has not been heeded," Advani said.

Advani dares UPA to hold Lok Sabha polls now

Bangalore, Sep 14 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate L. K. Advani late Saturday challenged the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to dissolve Parliament and hold Lok Sabha elections immediately.

"I throw challenge to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to hold general elections now so that people can give their verdict," Advani said at the party's first 'Vijay Sankalp (victory affirmation) rally here.

"Dissolve Lok Sabha. Announce elections. Why wait till May next year," the opposition leader in Lok Sabha said.

Asserting that the people of India wanted to get rid the "corrupt" and "incompetent" government, Advani told the crowd that now was the time to let people decide who should govern the country, which he said had been brought to the brink by the government's failure on all fronts.

"Let the electorate decide which party or alliance is better to rule the country. Let us test to find out who has the people's mandate to form the next government. Let the people have a chance to compare the performance of our NDA government with that of the UPA government," Advani said raising his voice during his 35-minute address in English and Hindi.

"In my six decades of political life, I have not come across a prime minister who could not take credit for any achievement as in the case of Manmohan Singh. The perception in the establishment is success belongs to Sonia Gandhi and failures to Manmohan Singh," he added.

Holding the UPA government responsible for inflation, price rise, agrarian crisis, terrorism and a flawed Indo-US nuclear deal, the BJP leader called the cash-for-votes incident "a mega scam".

"I am sorry to say that by this single act of misdemeanour, which can be dubbed mega scam, Manmohan Singh has forfeited any moral right to be a man of integrity and purity in public life," Advani said.

Advani also lauded the people of Karnataka for having voted his party to power for the first time in the state and south India.

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