Crucial evidence in the Pune blast case may have been lost as the Pune police, initially assuming it to be an LPG explosion, called in the fire brigade and asked it to wash the site clean to prevent further damage.
Immediately after the explosion at German Bakery at 6.52 pm on February 13, the police summoned the fire brigade, saying there had been a cylinder blast and the place needed cleaning up. Within minutes, six fire tenders reached the spot.
The police realised it was a terror attack more than an hour-and-a-half later, after experts of the Army’s Southern Command who examined the site confirmed a bomb had
gone off. By then, the floor was flooded with water, and key evidence washed away, forensic experts said.
The site was not even cordoned off till late in the night.
“We have failed to get anything significant from the spot,” one of the experts who examined the site said.
Teams belonging to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory and the National Security Guards’ National Bomb Data Centre, and a squad of the state’s forensic and anti-terrorism experts, have in the past week struggled to get clues from the site.
Pieces of the timer device, the casing used to stuff explosives and parts of other components of the bomb can be recovered from a blast site and help in investigations.
However, in this case, most leads into the make of the bomb and the use of ammonium nitrate, fuel oil and RDX were obtained from shrapnels found on victims’ bodies, another expert said.
Gajanan Pathrudkar, station fire officer at Kothrud fire station said, “The call from the police said it was an LPG explosion. From the destruction caused, we gathered that was not the case, but there was fire outside [the bakery] that we had to put out. We also had to prevent further damage.”
Ramesh Gangad, chief station officer at Yerawada fire station and one of the first to reach the spot, said: “It was more than a cylinder blast. The police should have been able to figure it out and avoid damage.”
Pune police commissioner Satyapal Singh refused to comment.