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Suspect seen at both blast sites?

india Updated: Aug 31, 2007 03:56 IST
Abhishek Sharan

The Hyderabad Police are verifying if the suspected bomber whose sketch was released on Wednesday was seen at both blast sites on Saturday.

The sketch of the bespectacled 25-year-old with straight hair and fair complexion is suspected to be of the man who “planted” the bomb at Lumbini Park, according to Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Punna Rao. However, senior investigators told HT that a man who sustained injuries at the second blast site, Gokul Chat, has indicated that the man he saw keep a bag on the ice-cream counter bears a resemblance to the sketch. “The investigating officer has met this witness and taken down details. We are verifying his claim that the man he saw at Gokul Chat could be the man whose sketch we have prepared,” said an investigator on condition of anonymity.

Rao, meanwhile, said the police expected to get more details on the “other bomb planter's facial profile” from a few injured persons who cannot be questioned at present due to their “serious” medical condition. “Once these victims get stable, we will speak to them and prepare more sketches,” he said.

Sketches apart, the police are still trying to figure out the exact number of “bomb planters” involved. “There are strong indications — based on cyber intercepts and the similarity of the explosives used in Saturday's blasts and the blast at the STF headquarters in 2005 — that the weekend blasts were carried out by Shahid, alias Bilal, a top Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami commander. But we are yet to zero in on the operatives involved,” said Rao.

Investigators are looking into the possibility of whether the blasts were planned with an eye on the escape route. “The sites are on a straight line. We are probing if the planters began with Lumbini Park, went on to Gokul Chat and ended up in Dilsukh Nagar. From here, they would have dispersed,” said a senior investigator. The probe into the twin blasts was handed over to the Special Task Force, from the Crime Branch headed by Rao.