New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday acknowledged there was a lack of coordination between Delhi Police and Maharashtra ATS in the probe into last year's serial blasts in Mumbai but downplayed the rift between them.

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Union Home Secretary R K Singh at the same time said he was "very happy" that the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) had cracked the 13/7 blast case. He also said there is a need for a standard operating procedure for inter-state anti-terror operations.

A day after ATS announced a breakthrough, Singh said it had worked out the case on the basis of evidence which will be put through legal procedure.
Singh said in order to bring synergy between various forces, Government has set up the National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC), which will be made operational soon.

"Besides this we, will call Directors General of Police of various state police forces for drafting a standard operating procedure for such kind of operations," he added.

Singh was answering questions from reporters regarding the arrest of two persons including Naquee Ahmed in connection with 13/7 blasts in which 27 people were killed.

When asked whether competitive politics came in the way of arrest of top terrorists keeping in view the kind of information obtained, Singh said "I had a detailed discussion with ATS Chief (Rakesh Maria) on Saturday. He briefed me about his investigations and the Delhi Police and the IB had already briefed me about their operation, we will get some additional reports".

But, he said the Home Ministry would like to ensure a system whereby different agencies work together rather than separately when they are operating in a particular area.

Naquee Ahmed was an informer for Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau and was helping them in nabbing the two 13/7 bombers Waqas and Tabrez besides a prize catch Yaseen Bhatkal.

About the rift, he said "It is true that IB and Delhi police were running an operation where he was the informer but the fact is that he was an informer in particular operation in which he was supposed to lead these people to a location. He led them to a location where some people were going to come, that is separate.

"That does not protrude the fact that he could have been or was involved in the bomb blast. The ATS had come to that conclusion after investigations and the ATS had briefed me about it on Saturday," he added.

Centre baffled by Mumbai police claims

Hours after the Mumbai police claimed to have arrested two key suspects in the July 13, 2011 serial blasts which killed 27 people, the Union Home Ministry on Monday expressed dismay over the claims, noting that one of the two held was an informer for the Delhi Police and the Intelligence Bureau. The Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Mumbai police has also sought the custody of another suspect, held in a separate fake currency case, for the Mumbai terror attack probe.

'Naqi Ahmed Vasi Ahmed Sheikh and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaque Sheikh have been arrested from different areas of south-central Mumbai in connection with the case,' ATS chief Rakesh Maria told reporters in Mumbai.

In New Delhi, home ministry officials, unwilling to be named, countered the ATS claim, clearly demonstrating that there had been no coordination among security agencies probing terror cases.

'We are baffled at the arrest of the 22-year-old Naqi Ahmed Vasi Ahmed Sheikh, who has in fact been helping Delhi Police special cell and the Intelligence Bureau. He was the person who provided crucial leads to Waqas and Tabrez, the two bombers in the 13/7 blast,' the officials said.

'Naqi Ahmed was in Mumbai to help track down  two bombers. It was a highly secret operation monitored by the nation's security top brass from the capital,' they added.

Claiming to have cracked the serial blasts that rocked Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar in south and central Mumbai in July last year, Maria said the third suspect Haroon Rashid Naik, 33, was already behind bars in Mumbai.

'So, there would be technically three arrests and three (accused still) wanted in the case so far,' he said.

'Naqi is originally a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar but had been in Mumbai since September-October 2010. While Nadeem an accused from Deora Bandhauli which falls under the same district and has been staying in Mumbai since around the same time,' Maria said.

Maria said the main accused in the case, Yasin Bhatkal alias Imran, was still untraced. Bhatkal is known to be a prime operative of the Indian Mujahideen terror group.

'Yasin Bhatkal is the main accused in this case. He started the Darbhanga (terror) module where he held programmes to indoctrinate young boys and used them in such blasts,' Maria said.

Ahead of the serial blasts, Bhatkal had given Nadeem a cloth packet, containing the explosives and detonators, to hand it over to Naqi. Naqi passed the packet to another suspect, the police officer said.

Bhatkal gave Naqi Rs.1.5 lakh to assist in the execution of the serial blasts, he said.

Naqi, whose association with Bhatkal dates back to 2008, also conducted a recce of the blast sites, he said.

The investigation was being conducted by teams of Mumbai police, Maharashtra's criminal investigation department, the National Investigation Agency and others, with support from security agencies in many states, he said.

Three blasts at close intervals July 13 last year shook the country's diamond and gold hubs - Opera House and Zaveri Bazar - and a busy commercial area of Dadar, killing at least 27 people and leaving around 125 injured.

(Agencies)