Bodies of victims lie on the ground after a bomb blast in Hyderabad. (AP Photo)
The mark of the Indian Mujahideen on the Hyderabad blasts seemed clearer Saturday with three operatives of the home-grown terror outfit emerging as prime suspects, even as the investigation got a boost from CCTV footage of a man with a bag riding a bicycle to one of the blast sites.
No outfit has yet been named in connection with Thursday’s blasts in Dilsukhnagar that killed 16 but the terror trail has led National Investigation Agency sleuths all the way to Bihar, UP and Maharashtra in search of the IM men — Asasdullah Akhtar alias Haddi alias Tabrej, Bada Sajid and Waqas alias Ahmed.
Akhtar and Sajid are from Azamgarh in UP and have been on the run since the 2008 Batla house encounter in Delhi. All three are wanted for their involvement in the 2011 Mumbai bombings and were reporting directly to IM operational commander Yasin Bhatkal.
In Hyderabad, on the eve of the Prime Minister’s visit, police sources said a team of experts was analysing the CCTV footage to identify the person on the cycle and also to see if the photos of the three IM men throw up a match.
Police commissioner Anurag Sharma announced a multi-pronged probe with six specialised teams of 90 men, drawn from the counter-terror, anti-Naxal and counter-intelligence units.
However, the IM remains the main suspect. “Use of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil as the primary explosive, as in Mumbai and Pune, and the modus operandi of IM operatives masquerading as students cannot be ignored,” said a senior IPS officer.
Dilsukhnagar is a hub of small private educational institutes and student hostels and is said to have been scouted by the IM.
State forensic science lab director O Narsimha Murthy confirmed the use of ammonium nitrate in Thursday’s blasts.
“However, one can’t ignore the splinter radical groups that operated within Hyderabad in the past,” the officer added.
Inputs from htc Delhi