Police grope in dark, more detained for Mehrauli blast

September 28th, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) A day after a blast in south Delhi’s Mehrauli that killed two people and injured 17, Delhi Police were Sunday groping in the dark for clues even as they detained more suspects for questioning.A forensic team of the country’s elite counter-terrorism agency National Security Guards (NSG) once again visited the blast site in the electronics market and collected fresh samples.

The area remained cordoned off for vehicular movement, though pedestrian movement was allowed. The shopowners in the area kept their shops closed and protested the blast.

“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 Mehrauli blast. No organisation has claimed responsibility and also 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 Dusshera. 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 showing no resemblance to 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.

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.

Two Delhi Police teams also left for Jalpaiguri in West Bengal Sunday looking for some suspects, whose names have not been disclosed as it might hamper the investigation.

One team was also camping in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh to gather intelligence on local goons who were previously involved in making crude bombs and who might have helped the two bombers with logistics.

The police sources said two men have also been picked up in Faridabad, on the outskirts of the national capital, for questioning. They said a resident of Ballabgarh had called Delhi Police late Friday from his mobile phone and reportedly said: “Delhi bachalo, blast hoga (Save Delhi, there would be a blast).”

The shopowner who had sold the mobile SIM card used in that call has also been detained for questioning. The police sources said the interrogation might throw some light on the case.

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.

The police official, who spoke to IANS on condition of anonymity, suspected that it could be a retaliatory action by some people after a heavy crackdown on terrorists in the past two weeks across the country.

But the official added it could prove to be mere speculation too. “Things will only be clear once the terrorists are arrested. We are still struggling in the dark for clues.”

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