Seventy-two hours after three blasts rocked Mumbai on Wednesday that left 19 people killed and more than 130 injured, investigators have zeroed in on two suspects and ruled out the involvement of a suicide bomber.
Rakesh Maria, additional director general of Mumbai Police and chief of the anti-terrorist squad (ATS), told a press conference: “Investigations done so far and visits to the sites by forensic experts and investigators suggest that there was no suicide bomber and based on eyewitness accounts, we may be able to get a sketch of one of the suspects by tonight.”He said although the police had another suspect’s photograph obtained from the CCTV footage, the police needed to work more on the photograph as the footage was grainy. "We have asked experts to enhance the quality of the image."
The ATS chief also said police teams were in the process of identifying each person captured on each frame of the footage with the help of locals. “Those who will not be identified by locals will then be verified individually by the investigators.”
Maria said that while there was consensus among experts on the use of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, they were still to determine what was used as a booster to trigger the explosive.
Forensic experts have concluded that the explosive was packed in a metallic container with a digital timer. Maria said, "We are still ascertaining whether the container was made of aluminum or steel.” The ATS also asked the experts to ascertain the quantity of explosives used in each of the blasts.
Maria said investigators have spanned across the country with teams coordinating with agencies in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi.
He said, “(Members of) various (terrorist) modules arrested in the past are being questioned (to see) if they can help in solving the case.”
He, however, claimed there were some good leads and the investigation was moving in the right direction.
Diamond trader used in plot?
One of the men behind the blasts may have befriended a diamond trader by promising to take care of his debt to gain access to the Pancharatna diamond traders’ building at Dadar.
Investigators said that of the two people identified for helping in the blasts, claiming 11 lives at the spot, one is believed to be an Indian Mujahideen man, the other an unassuming small-time trader.
Sources said the trader, in return, may have helped the IM operative to channel funds for terror operations.