Rohini court blast: Delhi police arrest scientist, affirms ‘no terror plot’
New Delhi, Dec. 19 (IANS): Delhi Police has arrested a senior scientist, working at the Defence Research Development Organisation(DRDO) for carrying out a blast at Rohini Court in the national capital, affirming there was no ‘terror plot’ linked to the incident, an official said on Saturday.
Terming the act as a murder bid, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana, in a media briefing, said that the scientist namely Bharat Bhushan Kataria, a resident of Ashok Vihar, Delhi was arrested and during interrogation, he admitted before the police that he planted the improvised explosive device (IED) to eliminate a lawyer.
Bharat Bhushan planted the IED at a place where the lawyer was likely to sit, as he was “highly frustrated due to the protracted legal battles which were causing problems in his career as well as prolonged mental harassment and monetary loss to him and his family”.
Incriminating material and the attire of an advocate, used in the incident, have been recovered from the residence of the accused, Asthana said.
On December 9, a low-intensity blast ripped off inside courtroom number 102 of Rohini court complex at around 10.30 a.m. injuring one person present within the blast radius.
This was second such incident at Rohini court complex in the past three months.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, the case was handed over to the anti-terror unit of Delhi Police.
Preliminary findings of NSG and FSL indicated the use of easily available materials to fabricate IED. Components of the IED were identified from debris and ‘exhaustive’ efforts were made to track the source of all such components.
Police began its probe by verifying the CCTV footage of the court complex.
“The special cell had to analyse over 100 CCTV cameras that were installed in and around the court premises. They also examined over 1000 cars that had entered the court in the past few days before the blast,” the senior official said.
Voluminous telephonic data relevant to crime was analysed. Based on CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts, several persons present in the court complex were identified and verified.
During the investigation, the name of one Bharat Bhushan Kataria, resident of Ashok Vihar came up as a person of interest. His case was listed for hearing on the day of the blast. His opposite party, Advocate Amit Vashistha was seated in the row next to which the IED exploded. Advocate Amit Vashistha also witnessed Bharat Bhushan being present in court just before the blast.
During CCTV analysis, Bharat Bhushan Kataria was found entering the court on the day of the incident at 09:33 a.m. He was dressed in a black coat and trousers to appear like an advocate. He was carrying a bag in his hand and a laptop bag on his back.
He was seen entering and leaving through multiple gates, trying to weave an evasive pattern. He was seen entering the court from gate no. 7 and concealing the bags at a location inside the court premises and leaving from same gate. He then entered via gate no. 8 and retrieved the two bags he had concealed. He was seen in various cameras inside the main court building. He finally left in a hurry at 10:35 a.m. from gate no. 8 with a laptop bag on his back, while the second bag was not with him.
A search of his house has revealed several incriminating pieces of evidence.
Several file covers, identical to those which were present in the bag which was used in the blast, similar screws that were used as shrapnel in IED and remnants of the black adhesive tape used in fabricating the IED have been recovered from his house.
Attire used by the accused to enter the court complex (Black Coat and trousers) has also been recovered from his house. Some incriminating documents and other electronic devices including laptops and mobile phones have also been seized for further investigation.
From the investigation conducted so far, it has emerged that Bharat Bhushan and Advocate Amit Vashistha were living in the same building till about 3 years ago. They have a long-standing dispute of over 10 years and have filed over a dozen civil and criminal cases against each other.
One such case against Bharat Bhushan was listed on 09.12.2021 in Court No. 102 of the Rohini Court. Bharat Bhushan reached the Rohini Court,and went inside the courtroom no. 102 at about 10:15 a.m. and searched for advocate Amit Vashistha. He noticed the advocate is sitting on a chair in the back row. He placed the bag containing the IED behind the lawyer and triggered the IED from a safe distance with the remote.
At 10:35 a.m., he walked out from the court complex from Ring Roadside and went back home in his Ertiga car.
Linking small clues to bigger evidence, the police finally reached the conclusion and arrested the senior scientist in Delhi on Friday.
“The probe is still going on but after preliminary investigation, we can confirm that there was no terror angle to this crime,” the official said.
The Rohini Court has been in limelight for the past two months after two back-to-back attacks that have raised several questions on the security arrangements at the court premises.
Even local courts have several times come down heavily on the security scenario at the Court.
Earlier on September 24, in an incident that seemed ripped from a Bollywood potboiler, top Delhi gangster Jitender Singh Mann, alias Gogi, was shot dead in Rohini Court by two assailants dressed in lawyers’ garb.