Bounty kicks off hunt for bombers
THE BOMBS that went off in the seven local trains in Mumbai on Tuesday were possibly planted at the Churchgate Station -- the originating point of the trains.
A day after the blasts, which left over 190 people dead, intelligence agencies and the Mumbai police were stringing together pieces of information on Wednesday. The Maharashtra Government has announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone providing accurate information regarding the blasts.
Investigations suggest the bombings were carried out by a group of 8-10 people who boarded the trains at Churchgate.
Sources in the intelligence agencies, who are coordinating with the Mumbai police's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Crime Branch, said the manner in which the bombs exploded, one after the other, suggests they were planted around the same time and triggered by timer devices. Sources said the police have recovered pencil timers from the blast sites in Mahim, Matunga and Borivali.
The reason for choosing Churchgate: crowd cover. A source said, "It's much easier to place explosives at Churchgate as it is very crowded during peak hours."
The police are also examining the accounts of four witnesses. Sources said the witnesses described to the ATS having seen two men dressed in pathan suit at Churchgate.
Three of the witnesses have talked of seeing the well-built duo boarding a first-class compartment of a Borivali-bound local at Churchgate around 6 p.m. They got off the train at Mumbai Central Railway Station. The men, they said, looked fidgety and stood out because of their dress.
The fourth witness claimed he saw two men in pathan suit at a bus stop near Eros Theatre outside the Churchgate station. Sketches of the two have been prepared.
It is suspected that the explosives, RDX according to top police officers and Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, were hidden in briefcases or tiffin boxes and left behind on the luggage racks in the middle portion of the compartments (lead: the end-portions were comparatively less damaged).
DGP P.S. Pasricha said the modus operandi was similar to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s. Sources in Delhi said the police are also trying to identify “local sympathisers” of banned outfit SIMI.