A Karnataka Police team on Thursday questioned five people in Vellore and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, in relation to the blast that rocked Bangalore on Wednesday. The blast injured 16 people.
According to police sources, the team which is taking the assistance of the Tamil Nadu Police, is interrogating the people with suspected links with the gutted bike with a fake Tamil Nadu registration plate. The bomb was planted on this bike.
These people include three from Vaniyambadi in Vellore district, including one Akbar Basha and Salim, the sources said. They could not provide more details. The sources added that they are being detained at a secret location.
The sources in Bangalore claimed that the people being interrogated were not owners of the bike, but intermediaries who had facilitated the sale to different owners. However, confusion prevailed among the police whether the bike used was a Yamaha or a Suzuki and about the egistration number (TN 22 R 3769).
In Bangalore, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had a meeting with the DG & IG Lalrokhuma Pachuau about the progress in the investigation. Pachuau later addressed a press conference and announced the formation of two special teams headed by Joint Commissioner of Police Pranob Mohanty.
He also offered Rs 5 lakh to anyone who offered credible and reliable information. Pachuau, who on Wednesday had denied the terror angle, conceded: “It could have been a terror attack.”
City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar confirmed that the explosive was not packed with nails, shrapnel or ball bearings.
However, the police in Bangalore purportedly could not make much headway from the CCTV footage they had collected from the surrounding spots of the blast. Meanwhile, one of the seriously injured in the blast, Ganesh Rao continued to be under observation in the ICU at a private hospital. Another victim, 17-year-old Rakshita Sujay was shifted to a private hospital and has been kept on oxygen support, according to doctors. Both are said to be in a stable condition. Nine injured, who were admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, were discharged on Thursday evening.
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said Central intelligence agencies were clueless about the Bangalore blasts and accepted that no specific alert was issued to states prior to Wednesday’s terror strike. Shinde told reporters at his monthly briefing that the states were told in the past two to three months that places where blasts had taken place earlier are vulnerable.
The home minister also ruled out that specific alert was issued to states on possible targeting of any particular religious places.
The minister added that the motorcycle used for planting the improvised explosive device was sold thrice and each of the three owners have been profiled by investigators to find out who brought the bike to the blast spot. The minister, however, did not share the details of the ownership of the bike.
“So far, we have not come to any conclusion about the people behind Wednesday’s blast. Investigation is such a matter that we cannot say we can do within a definite period of time. But I assure the nation that we will book the culprits, we will book the perpetrators and we are on that way,” he said.
On the local BJP leaders claim that the blasts were meant to target the ruling party, Shinde denied that the terror strike was aimed at disrupting the state Assembly elections scheduled in the first week of May.
On a query whether the probe would be handed over to the NIA, already assisting the state police, Shinde said the consent of the state was needed before handing over the probe to the Central investigating team.