According to sources, Modi, who had touched down at Patna airport at 12.08 pm and insisted on addressing the rally even as bombs continued to go off, relented to the persuasion of the officers to defer his arrival at the rally ground.
The precaution was taken because of the apprehension that the bombers may have timed explosions to coincide with Modi’s arrival at Gandhi Maidan, the crowded venue of the rally.
The precaution was justified as one of the bombs, planted closest to the dais, went off at 12.25, that is around the time Modi would have reached the ground had he set out immediately after touching down at Patna airport.
IB and Gujarat Police officers reckoned that a surge among the crowd for a closer look at the leader, a usual phenomenon at political rallies, and the panic caused by the explosions timed around that time would have led to a sudden rush.
Details available a day after the blasts suggest that the IB was sensitive to the threat to Modi from terror outfits. Sources in the district administration disclosed that the IB, at the urging of Gujarat Police, carried out an advanced security liaisoning ahead of the rally even though the drill was not mandated to be followed in his case.
Sources in the home department also confirmed that central intelligence agencies had advised the state government to take into account the threat that Modi faced from jihadi outfits, especially in light of the recently revealed facts about the reach of Indian Mujahideen’s Darbhanga module.
It is learnt that governor D Y Patil has sought details from security agencies about the arrangements made for the rally addressed by a leader who figures on the top of the hit list of each jihadi outfit.
Tehsin Akhtar alias Monu, the mastermind of the terror attack, is a leading light of the Darbhanga module whose members have been found to be linked to terror attacks in different parts of the country and which helped Yasin Bhatkal and other terrorists like Pakistani national Waqas dodge police.
The details of a letter from IB to the state government can trigger a controversy in light of the statements of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and state police chief Abhayanand that they had no intelligence input.
The state government is already on the defensive about the failure of police to sanitize the rally ground, use sniffer dogs, run anti-sabotage checks and ensure frisking. There was no evacuation plan either.
BJP leaders have also protested against the absence of senior police officers at the venue or at the airport. They could not find anyone above the rank of a deputy superintendent of police when bombs started going off at Gandhi Maidan. Sources said the matter was raised with the state government which explained that senior police officers had left for Patna railway station where the first blast went off at 9.30 am.