The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday rubbished the reports that said one of the suspects in the serial blasts that rocked Bihar's Patna city on Sunday has escaped from its custody.
The agency said one Mehare Alam had been called as witness by the investigators but did not turn up for questioning on Wednesday as directed and so there is no question of escaping.
"Since, Mehre Alam who was called as only a witness and was not arrested by the NIA, therefore the question of his escape from NIA custody does not arise," NIA said in a statement.
NIA said: "One Mehre Alam a resident of Dharbhanga was given notice on 23rd Oct, 2013 (before Patna serial blasts) by NIA to appear before the NIA Investigating Officer (IO) at NIA camp office Bodh Gaya on 29th Oct, 2013 as a witness in connection with the investigation of RC 06/2012 which pertains to illegal activities of Indian Mujahideen.
"Having learnt that the NIA team was camping at Patna in connection with Patna serial blasts, Mehre Alam himself voluntarily came to Patna before the NIA team. During the examination, Mehre Alam disclosed that one of the NIA accused (Hyder Ali) of RC 06/2012 who is also an accused in Patna serial blasts case, was hiding at a certain place in village Mirpur of district Muzzafarpur. A team of NIA and local police accompanied Mehre Alam and reached village Mirpur in the midnight of 29th/30th Oct'2013.
"The NIA and the local police team searched for the said accused but he was not found. The teams came back to Muzzafarpur and housed themselves in Siddharth lodge, Muzzafarpur. Mehre Alam who was staying in one of the rooms along with NIA and local police personnel, left the room in the morning of 30th Oct'2013 on the pretext of attending the call of nature. Thereafter he did not come back and left the lodge. After searching for him in the adjoining areas, the NIA team gave a report to the SHO of the local Thana for necessary action," said the statement.
Earlier in the evening, reports attributing Bihar Police said that Alam, who was arrested in Bihar´s Darbhanga district on Wednesday, fled while being brought to Patna by the NIA.
Meanwhile media reports suggested that Alam had been arrested from a train at Kanpur on late Thursday evening though NIA gave a different version.
Earlier in the day, the agency said it has arrested a fourth suspect in connection with the serial blasts.
The NIA arrested the fourth suspect, who was identified as Uzair Ahmed, from Jharkhand´s Ranchi city on Wednesday.
The Bihar Police on Wednesday said they have arrested the third suspect in the serial blasts. The arrested suspect was identified as Tabish.
Based on leads provided by Imtiaz Ansari, who was arrested in connection with the blasts, the police picked up Tabish from Motihari in Bihar.
Ansari is one of the six men named in the FIR that also names his mentor Tehseen Akhtar, reports said.
The escaped suspect was reportedly close Akhtar.
The police said that Ansari could be part of a newly formed module of the terror group Indian Mujahideen in Ranchi set up by Akhtar and wanted to create panic and trigger a stampede that could cause many deaths.
Six people were killed and over 80 others were injured in a series of crude bomb explosions before Modi´s Hunkar Rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.