Police clueless, more detained for Mehrauli blast (Lead)

September 28th, 2008 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) A day after a blast in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area that killed a boy and injured 22, the police here were Sunday groping in the dark for clues, even as they detained more suspects for questioning.Police were also keeping an eye on one of the injured, identified as Allauddin, suspecting he could be one of the two people who threw the bomb.

Police sources said three passports, two SIM cards and a bag stashed with currency notes of Rs.500 denomination were recovered from Allauddin.

“We would interrogate Allauddin once he is declared fit for his statement. He is admitted in the Trauma Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) with back injuries,” said a police official.

His two relatives, identified as Shahabuddin and Shabnam, were detained for questioning, the sources said, though officials refused to confirm it.

The police also clarified that only one person - 10-year-old Santosh - had died in the blast.

Earlier Sunday, police had said 60-year-old Kanwar Pal, resident of east Delhi, had died but later it turned out that he was not a blast victim.

He died after falling from his house roof. Police said confusion occurred as Pal had been admitted to the hospital at the same time when the blast injured were being admitted.

Earlier in the day, a forensic team of the National Security Guards (NSG) once again visited the blast site in the electronics market of Mehrauli and collected fresh samples.

“Unlike the Sep 13 serial blasts where we had a line of investigations and vital clues, this time we don’t know who could be behind the blast. No organisation has claimed responsibility. We are struggling for clues,” a top Delhi Police official admitted to IANS.

“We fear that the blast in Mehrauli might meet the same fate as the two similar low-intensity blasts this year in south Delhi, one in Lado Sarai and one near the IIT, that are still a mystery,” the official added.

No one was killed in those two explosions and investigations are still underway.

The police said the motive behind the blast could be to create tension in the locality during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan and the approaching Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Dussehra. They said the famous Chhattarpur temple, near the blast spot, could have been a terror target.

“We are probing if the temple was the target. The bombers probably dropped the bomb in the market in haste as it could have gone off any moment,” the official said.

The south district of Delhi Police has formed 10 teams to nab the two bombers.

The two men wearing helmets and riding a black Bajaj Pulsar motorbike had dropped the crude bomb kept in a lunch box and wrapped in newspaper at the market Saturday afternoon, according to eyewitnesses.

A boy who spotted the bag and tried to return it to the bikers was killed as the bomb went off in his hands.

The bomb was made of ammonium nitrate, ammonium chloride, potassium chlorate, nails and shrapnel, police said.

It did not have any timer, detonator or RDX, thus did not resemble the other bombs that were detonated in various parts of the country in the past two years.

The investigating agencies said they were probing the possible role of some notorious Bangladeshi gangs operating in the capital.

At least five Bangladeshi nationals staying illegally in the capital were picked up late Saturday for interrogation and sleuths were questioning them.

The police sources said personnel in all 10 police districts of Delhi and officials of the Crime Branch were monitoring colonies of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the city.

The Saturday blast reminded investigators of more than 25 similar blasts in parts of the capital 1997. Police had then blamed the Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI).

“The nature of the bomb is the same as those triggered in 1997. But there is also a slight difference. In 1997 people had felt a strong chemical smell after each blast but not on Saturday. It means the composition of bombs could be different,” said an officer.

“We can’t firmly say the Mehrauli bomb had the signature of any other bomb blast in the country in the recent past. Samples have been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in the capital.

“All we can claim is that it has no links with the Indian Mujahideen at least at the ground level. If there is something at a higher level and among heads of terror organisations, then it is a matter for investigation,” the official added.

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