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Mumbai blasts: Police prepare sketch of suspect

mumbai Updated: Jul 17, 2011 20:21 IST

Groping for a breakthrough four days after the triple blasts, police today prepared a sketch of a suspect even as brother of an alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) member died in a hospital in Mumbai after being questioned on Wednesday's explosions.

Widening the probe, police teams also fanned out to seven states to get definite leads in a desperate hunt for the bombers of the July 13 terror attack that left 19 dead and oover 130 injured.

A senior ATS official said the sketch of the suspect in the serial blasts based on eyewitness accounts has been prepared.

"The sketch of the suspect is ready. It will be circulated among the select and top investigating officials It will not be released to the public," he said.

Faiz Usmani, brother of Afzal Usmani, who is currently lodged in jail for his role in the 2008 Gujarat blasts, today died at 1:30 AM while he was undergoing treatment for hemiparesis and hypertension in the Lokmanya Tilak Hospital, doctors said.

Usmani, a resident of suburban Govandi, was picked up for questioning on Saturday by Chembur's Crime Branch unit and as he was not feeling well was admitted to the Hospital in Sion at around 5:50 PM.

As he died today, Usmani's family alleged that he was tortured in custody.

Maharashtra DGP Ajit Parasnis ordered a CID inquiry into the death. "A CID inquiry has been ordered into the death of Usmani by the DGP. The state CID will look into various aspects that resulted in his death," Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said.

Usmani' son Azeem alleged that his father was picked up for questioning and "pressurised during interrogation. They are to blame for his death".

Ryan Kumar, a doctor at the hospital, said, "He (Faiz Usmani) died due to brain hemorrhage. This condition usually comes when a person is exposed to some kind of shock".

Usmani's wife Rubaida said, "When the police came to take him, they said that they will just interrogate him. He had gone alone. So we don't know what the police questioned him about. I don't know to what extent he was tortured, that he got so tensed. They came back in an hour saying he was unwell, he had vomited and admitted to Sion Hospital."

The Mumbai Police have, however, denied the charge by Usmani's family.

"He (Faiz Usmani) was brought for questioning by the Chembur unit. He was suffering from hypertension and had not take medicines for the last three-four days. He was admitted to the hospital last evening and the allegations of torture by police are absolutely untrue," said Deputy Police Commissioner (Crime) Nisar Tamboli.

Even as the blame game continued, Maharashtra DGP Ajit Parasnis ordered a CID enquiry into the death of Usmani.

Meanwhile, the doctors at the hospital said that there were no external injuries on Usmani's body and the postmortem report is yet to be prepared, which would be submitted to police.

According to the sources in Maharashtra ATS, two to three more sketches of suspects based on eyewitness accounts would also be prepared.

ATS chief Rakesh Maria said, "We are in touch with UP, Gujarat, Delhi, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka police, as well as all the central agencies. It is an all out effort".

"Our teams have fanned out to various locations. People in various modules who have been arrested in the past, they are being questioned to help us in this investigation," he said.

Investigators are closely scrutinising CCTV footage of over 10 CDs from the blast sites to zero in on the people who could have planted the bombs.

Noting that the footage was voluminous and "grainy", Maria said that investigators were seeking technical help to get better images.

The police have refused to speculate on the involvement of any terror group and maintained that no one can be ruled out at this stage.

In Bihar, a 30-year-old man was arrested from Kishenganj district and police was probing whether he has any links with the Mumbai blasts.

During preliminary questioning, Akash Khan had given his domicile as Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal on different occasions. A diary with notings in Marathi was seized from him, police said. His absconding house woner Mehtab Alam was also later nabbed.

In a related development in Mumbai, police constable Prabhakar Bagrao from Kalyan was suspended on Saturday for ignoring crucial information provided by a citizen on the July 13 bomb blasts.