Two-and-a-half hours after a Taiwanese media group was attacked by two bike-borne gunmen near Jama Masjid, a Maruti 800 car parked 100 metres away went up in flames.
In a major goof up, policemen did not cordon off the area immediately and let the public run amok around the car. Though police denied it was a bomb, they said it was a "poorly integrated crude explosives device". The police suspect the culprits chose the car because it was parked close to a transformer and would have caused maximum damage
It was only after a special cell officer noticed a plastic box containing wires, batteries, a timer and a pressure cooker cover they realised it could be a crude bomb. The police earlier mistook it to be a blast in the CNG kit of the car, the owner later informed it ran on petrol. The car was left unattended for about half an hour.
Residents used buckets of water to douse the flames till a fire tender that was parked 50 metres away reached the spot. The explosion took place at 2 p.m. near the local police station.
The owner of the car, Bobby Sharma, said usually he parked his car at Azad Market parking but on Sunday he had parked it near the transformer.
"I parked my car around 11 a.m. near the transformer as that was the only available parking space. I did not know how it exploded. It runs on petrol. I do not know anything about the plastic box how it reached there. I had left the car unlocked," said Sharma, a resident of Krishna Gali nearby.
Another resident Mukul Ghundy who lives in a house facing the explosion site said all they heard was the sound of a cracker. “Initially I thought it was a small firecracker. We came out in our balcony only when we saw thick smoke in the air, the car was up in flames by that time,” said Ghundy, a businessman.
The police said they have not found any eyewitness for the incident. “Since it was a Sunday, not many people were on road at the time of the incident. Even the markets were closed. We are looking for eyewitnesses who can give us some clue," said a senior police officer.