M A I N   N E W S

Bombers’ local contacts on radar
n Bombs may have been assembled locally, says police
n email surfaces, experts probe cross-border links, underworld angle
n Scooter used in Zaveri Bazar blast identified
Shiv Kumar/Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Mumbai/New Delhi, July 15
Investigators probing Mumbai serial blasts are looking for bombers’ local accomplices, who might have provided them extensive logistical support, including premises to assemble the explosive devices.

Security agencies have also identified the owner of the two-wheeler in which the explosive material was planted at Zaveri Bazar. The cyber experts are looking into an email, which may have some cross-border links.

The police say the devices built using ammonium nitrate, fuel oil, ball bearings and metal bits were wired with timers would have been assembled at a single location and transported to the target sites. The areas of Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar are within a 14-km radius and the devices may have been put together somewhere nearby, says the police.

Investigators are also looking for clues at places like Mumbra which is on the outskirts of Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives have been arrested from the area in the past. A number of places have been raided in Mumbra.

“There would have been at least four to five people who would have put together the bombs with at least one person each transporting the devices to the spot where they went off,” said a police officer at one of the blast sites.

The police also claimed to have obtained important clues from the footage obtained from CCTVs installed at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House.

The Maharashtra ATS and the Mumbai Crime Branch have questioned a number of people, including two arrested Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, and those having links with underworld gangs and other anti-social elements.

Investigators are looking at the underworld link. “We are investigating the underworld link to the blast,” sources said. However, they did not specify which underworld gang was under the scanner. Based on the investigation so far, the probe agencies are suspecting the possibility of the underworld providing assistance to the masterminds of the blasts in conducting reccee, procuring explosives and other devices.

The investigators are closely tracking the movement of few underworld figures.

While sifting through the Opera House video footage, investigators have reportedly spotted three to four persons talking on their cell phones. They were seen standing at the same spot for a long duration. The efforts are on to identify them, said authorities.

All mobile numbers which were active in the area of the blasts on July 13 are under surveillance. Officials of the ATS and the Crime Branch have also activated their human intelligence network and are seeking maximum help from their informers across the state.

“We have a reason to believe that the terror suspects may not have used that much technology to execute the blasts. So we are depending on inputs from our informers,” said an official.

CM Prithviraj Chavan said 12 task groups have been formed to probe the terror attacks. In New Delhi, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said the probe agencies have identified the scooter in which one of the bombs was planted.

Several people are being questioned based on their “previous known linkages”.

Asked whether there was any cross-border link to blasts, the Home Secretary said: “We have an email which originated elsewhere. It is being followed up”. RK Singh said the CCTV footages of the three blast sites were being scrutinised by the investigators and they were going through the 11 CDs made from the footages. Asked whether the investigators were working on any definite lead, the Home Secretary said: “We have not yet zeroed in on.” Meanwhile, an ATS raided the house of a suspected SIMI activist in Ranchi. The team left town the same day when the man could not be located. The suspected SIMI activist was identified as Manjar Imam. The ATS had last year interrogated him in connection with the Coimbatore blast case in Kerala, officials said.

(With PTI inputs)


Suicide attack theory bombs

Mumbai: The authorities have ruled out the possibility of suicide bombers carrying out Wednesday's deadly attacks in Mumbai following the identification of a man, whose severed head was recovered from the blast site in Zaveri Bazar. The man has been identified as Kishan Shivcharan Mandal (35), a migrant labourer from Orissa. —TNS

Congress core group to meet

New Delhi: The Congress core group will meet to discuss the security situation in the country in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts and other current political issues, party sources said. A top team of the party, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will meet to assess the “security situation in the country. — IANS





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |