NEW DELHI (TIP): Investigators may be close to finding the source of the cylinders used in the Bodh Gaya blasts. National Investigation Agency (NIA) has come across certain factories in Bihar that manufacture such small cylinders that were used to make the 13 bombs planted in and around the Mahabodhi temple complex. The agency is now trying to trace from which factory the cylinders may have originated and which dealer may have sold it to the terrorists.

Empty LPG cylinders of 2kg capacity were filled with a cocktail of ammonium nitrate, sulphur, potassium and shrapnel and then connected with a detonator, battery and Lotus brand clocks to make bombs that were used in the Bodh Gaya blasts. “There are some factories we have come across that make such cylinders. But further investigation is needed to reach the actual source,” said an NIA officer adding that a similar search for the clocks used in the blast was also on.

Sources also insisted that the agency has got something significant out of the CCTV footages and forensic science help is being taken to sharpen them. “The footages are very bad but some suspicious activity before the blasts around the blast sites is visible,” another officer added. Interestingly, NIA investigators have learnt that Maoists have used cylinder bombs identical to those used in Bodh Gaya blasts in parts of Jharkhand. “Maoists often use such bombs, state police has told us.

However, this does not mean that it’s a Naxal job. Anyone can copy anyone’s bomb. Just as Bodh Gaya bombs having similarity of circuit with 2008 Ahmedabad blasts does not mean that Indian Mujahideen executed the attack,” a senior NIA officer said. Sources said circumstances also pointed out that it was either not an IM operation or did not involve its Indian operations chief Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal — a highly-motivated jihadi and an expert bomb maker.

“Had he been involved he would have gone for mass casualty and not bothered about just harming structures. He would have placed bombs more judiciously and timed them well. However, it is too early to rule anything out in this case,” the officer said. The NIA on July 10 released Vinod Mistri, whose voter ID card was found near the blast site, and Dashrath Yadav as nothing incriminating was found on the duo.