The bomb blast at the German Bakery in Pune on Saturday was not due to any intelligence failure, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Sunday.
After visiting the blast site and meeting the injured in hospitals, Chidambaram said at a press meet that the Koregaon Park area, which, apart from the bakery houses, Chabad House and Osho Ashram, had been sensitised by police as it was on the “radar of terrorists”, but it was difficult to provide 24/7 security to all soft targets.
The bakery, he said, was a “soft target” while the other two were “hard targets”. “It appears that a person pretending to be a customer came to the bakery, left a backpack under a table and left,” he said.
“There is no intelligence failure, but please remember this is not an overt attack by gunmen. This is an insidious bomb planted in what appears to be a backpack. It is practically impossible to check each backpack in a city like Pune, which has youngsters in large numbers.”
Asked if the state government did not take intelligence inputs seriously, he said: “No, it is not correct. The state government had taken the advice seriously, and the police put in place security measures in (places which were) hard targets.”
Suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operative David Headley had done a recce of Chabad House and Osho Ashram during his stay in Pune in July 2008 and March 2009.
But, the minister said, it was too early to draw conclusions. “Headley had surveyed Chabad House, that is a fact. At the moment, it is a standalone fact. Whether this incident is related to that, it is premature to answer. We have to wait for the investigation to find out who is behind this.”
He said India was pursuing its case for having access to Headley. “We want an access to Headley for interrogation.”
The US condemned the blast and said it would “assist” India to help bring the perpetrators of the “cowardly act” to justice. “The US remains shoulder-to-shoulder with India in the fight against terror,” said US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer.
He did not think “any particular nationality” had been targeted. “That place was popular among young people, both Indians and foreigners,” he said.