The day after, investigators say they know what kind of bomb was used in the Tuesday evening Jaipur bombings that killed at least 63 people. They also know where the cycles used to carry the bombs were bought, and what the bombers looked like.
Most of the clues for these breakthroughs came from the eighth bomb that didn’t explode. Alert bystanders reported it and a bomb disposal squad defused it where it lay outside the Chandpole Hanuman Mandir.
The bomb had been timed to explode at 8:35 pm, which was probably a mistake committed by the bomber as all the other bombs went off between 7:15 and 7:45 pm, said investigators.
The same bomb also told the investigators a lot about the bombers. “In Jaipur, the RDX bombs used by terrorists were similar to the operation carried out in UP,” said Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
“The unexploded bomb was identical to the ones used to cause serial blasts on court premises in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi in October 2007,” said inspector general of police Pankaj Kumar Singh.
Police officer Amitabh Yash, who heads the special task force in UP, told HT, “The bombs do appear similar and there are indications that the HuJI operatives in both the states are linked.”
Investigators combed through the sites of the seven explosions in the Walled City all day on Wednesday. A daylong curfew was put in place to facilitate the investigation and pre-empt possible trouble.
The investigators found five bicycles that had been used to carry the bombs — perhaps strapped to their fronts.
They also learnt soon that they had been purchased from a local retailer, Shanti Trading Company, three days ago.
The investigators told the Hindustan Times that the company staff said the buyers spoke with a pronounced Bengali accent — this could be another possible pointer to the involvement of the Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat ul-Jehad-al Islami (HuJI).
The same people also helped the police draw sketches of the buyers, who could have either carried out the bombings themselves, or provided logistic support to the bombers — a critical role either way.
The Hindustan Times had reported on Tuesday that security and intelligence experts believed the Jaipur bombings were the handiwork of HuJI or Lashkar-i-Tayyeba. The investigators were leaning towards HuJI now.
Police officer Singh also said that the banned Students' Islamic Movement of India, which has some presence in Rajasthan, was being investigated for any possible logistic support it may have given the bombers.
The explosive used in Jaipur was essentially Ammonium Nitrate-based RDX (which expands to less scary Research Developed Explosives) also used in the Uttar Pradesh bombings.
“It was all crammed into a wooden crate with splinters and about 400 ball bearings,” said an official close to the investigations. All this was held together with an adhesive tape.
“The explosive was found to be wrapped in a local Hindi daily of Jaipur, Daily News, dated April 4, 2008. This clearly establishes that the bombs were made after that date,” he said.
This package was put inside a leather bag, which is how the bomb disposal squad found it. A label on the bag gave Boneno as the name of the manufacturer. And a Samay brand clock was attached to it as a timer.
The police detained some people for questioning, but no one has been arrested yet. And the investigators have completely denied the presence of a woman among the bombers – “no such clues yet”, said an officer.