Investigators are calling the low-intensity Pune serial blasts a failed operation as the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) didn’t go off as planned.
Sources said the IEDs contained shrapnels in a metal container, a paste of ammonium nitrate in some oil, a nine-volt battery and a wristwatch as timer. Initial reports suggest the IEDs didn’t work properly because of dampness.
“We have received preliminary forensic reports. The two unexploded IEDs recovered in the city have been found to be very complex in nature. It has forced us to investigate the matter more seriously,” said a senior union home ministry official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
In an earlier terror operation in Surat in July 2008, around two-dozen IEDs had not exploded due to faulty integrated chips. In May 2011, an IED planted outside the Delhi high court had failed to explode properly due to dampness.
According to sources, terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) was currently the prime suspect behind the Pune blasts. After the killing of Qateel Siddiqui, an alleged IM operative, by two petty criminals in Pune’s Yerawada jail almost two months ago, intelligence agencies had picked up some ‘chatter’ of a revenge strike being planned, sources told HT.
Qateel was strangled by two fellow inmates and gangsters Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao on June 8. Qateel was suspected to be part of Delhi’s Jama Masjid firing (September, 2010) and Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium blasts (April, 2010).
“There were inputs about some kind of revenge act being planned by the IM in the wake of Qateel’s killing, but there was no clarity about the target,” said a source.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is helping the Pune police in the investigation of blasts. “So far, no decision has been taken to entrust the investigation to the NIA. The state police will remain the leading investigation agency,” said home ministry official.
Intelligence sources said IM targeting Pune did not come as surprise. The city was used as a base by Bhatkal brothers — Iqbal and Riyaz — who are now said to be in Karachi.
As a member of religious organisation Tablighi Jamaat, Iqbal Bhatkal would come to Pune to preach at city mosques. He and Riyaz would then hunt for local ‘talents’ during these sessions.
Pune-based techie Mohammad Mansoor Asghar Peerbhoy, the alleged head of IM’s media cell that sent out emails after several bombings in 2008, was spotted by the Bhatkals during such visits.