Police pin hopes on CCTV clues to nab blast culprits

HYDERABAD - Two days after the twin bomb blasts rocked a busy locality in Hyderabad, killing 16 people and injuring over 120, the investigators yesterday found “vital clues” from the closed circuit television cameras located at a traffic signal near the blast site.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Mon 25 Feb 2013, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:34 PM

The CCTV footage showed “some persons” moving around in a suspicious manner at the crowded Dilsukhnagar area where two bomb explosions had occurred in quick succession.

A middle-aged man was seen moving with a bag hung on his by-cycle. He was seen reaching the place ten minutes before the first blast that ripped through Anand Tiffin Centre in front of Konark theatre at 6:38pm. The second blast occurred a few meters away at 7:01pm.

However, the faces of the suspects are not clear in the footage. The police have sought the help of experts to sharpen and clean the footage, the city Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma told reporters. The mobile call records from the area at the time of the explosions are also being examined.

The city police have constituted 15 teams, each comprising 10 to 15 officers, to track down the culprits even as the needle of suspicion pointed towards the involvement of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) behind the blasts. The Police Commissioner, however, said that no arrests had been made so far. “We are examining the CCTV footage, near the blast site and we have found some clues. We are not in a haste to blame anyone,” he said. The police also announced Rs1 million reward for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators of the serial blasts.

“We have already gathered vital clues in the case. We are confident that we will crack the case soon,” the State Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy said after a high-level review meeting chaired by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

The modus operandi adopted by the perpetrators like the use of Ammonium Nitrate and splinters-laden aluminium containers fitted to bicycles used in the blasts were similar to the attacks carried out by Indian Mujahideen in the past.

The Police Commissioner refuted media reports that CCTV wires had been snapped by the terrorists before their operation. He, however, admitted that out of 303 CCTVs in the city, 38 were not functioning.

Asked about the possible involvement of IM, Sharma said “The investigations are underway. Unless we complete the process, we cannot jump to any conclusion.” He said that ammonium nitrate was used in the IEDs which had timers.

Amidst reports that the state police had failed to act on the alerts issued by the central intelligence inputs on the possible terror strikes in the city, the Commissioner said they had received an alert from Delhi on February 15 about possible strikes in Hyderabad and three other cities. “We did not take any warning lightly.”

Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in the city and the surrounding districts and the number of policemen and bomb detection squads increased, particularly in the vulnerable areas of the city like crowded markets, malls and cinema halls.

The Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) SC Sinha held a meeting with the state police top brass and discussed about the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, Abdul Wasey Mirza, a 23-year-old unemployed youth who was injured in the Thursday’s blast at Dilsukhnagar and also at the Makkah Masjid blast in August, 2007, has been questioned by the police.

However, it was later clarified that Mirza was not being treated as a suspect. “As part of the investigations, we only recorded his statement as a witness along with others. He is not a suspect,” Sharma said.

“The media reports that we have detained some persons are totally baseless. We only called some people for questioning, which is a normal investigating procedure,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the police teams are also enquiring from the internet centres in and around Dilsukhnagar area if any suspicious persons sent emails from there. They are thoroughly examining the hard discs of these centres for clues about suspicious messages. They already identified some suspicious telephone calls made from Hyderabad to different locations.

The Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratories, which has collected the traces of the explosive materials from the blast sites, has confirmed that the bombs were home-made from the material gathered from local markets. In all 900 grams of ammonium nitrate, a 9-volt battery set up in a Tiffin box with a capacity to cause devastation in a 30-meter radius, were used in making the bombs. “As a matter of fact, a mere 300 gramme ammonium nitrate is enough to cause considerable damage,” the APSFL sources said.


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