Hyderabad blasts: too many probe teams mucking around

The Hyderabad blasts of Thursday happened because intelligence and security agencies were asleep on the job. But now, barely two days later, they - and the many investigating teams scouring the blast site for clues - are overcompensating by duplicating each other's work and generally adding to the confusion.

That sense of confusion will be compounded later today, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the blast site and the hospitals where the injured are being treated. Singh is expected to touch down at Begumpet airport at around 11 am, and then fly by helicopter to Victorial Memorial Home near Dilsukhnagar, where some of the injured are receiving medical attention. He will then visit other hospitals and the blast sites, and leave for Delhi by 1 pm or so.

At the blast site, too much of activity, very little of action. AP

At the blast site, too much of activity, very little of action. AP

Singh's visit, merely the latest in a long line of VVIP tours of the blast sites, will only compound the problems of the investigators and police officials, who will be distracted rather more by the need to provide security cover than carrying out investigations.

In the first place, the multiplicity of investigating teams - and the jurisdictional problems they encounter - has already muddied the waters of the probe in to the blasts. According to this report, "confusion reigns supreme" because assorted investigation teams from the Centre and the various States have jumped into the investigations, and are not coordinating their efforts. It has come to a stage where the presence of so many teams is hindering the investigation, rather than aiding it, it adds.

The usual problem of jurisdiction is also posing complications. Evidently, one of the blasts occurred within the jurisdiction of the Hyderabad police and the other within the jurisdiction of the Cyberabad police. Consquently, teams from both the commissionarates are investigating the case, the report notes.

But in addition to these local teams, investigators from the State-level intelligence cell are also traipsing around the blast site. And as if all this wasn't enough, teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) are in Hyderabad looking for clues that the others may have missed. But the presence of the NIA team doesn't inspire confidence among the local police, who say that the agency lacks skilled manpower and access to a database of terrorists.

In addition to all of these, the Intelligence Bureau and the Military Intelligence have sent teams to assist in the investigation, and anti-terrorism squads from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat,  Rajasthan and Karnataka are also in Hyderabad.

It is not immediately clear how having a Tower of Babel at the blast site will meaningfully take forward the investigation, particularly since there seems to be very little coordination of information that each of them have gleaned.

In other words, the investigation into the Hyderabad blasts so far has been characterised by too much of "activity", and very little of "action".

No prizes for guessing how this one will end.

Updated Date: Feb 24, 2013 07:07 AM

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