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Can't rule out any groups, no intelligence inputs on blast: Home minister

Union home minister P Chidambaram said that all groups involved in terror activities from within the country and foreign ones are on the radar for the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai yesterday evening.

mumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2011 14:15 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times

Union home minister P Chidambaram said that all groups involved in terror activities from within the country and foreign ones are on the radar for the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai on Wednesday evening.

He admitted that there was no intelligence inputs both at the national and state levels on the blasts. No arrests have been yet.

As of Thursday morning, 17 people were declared dead, with another unidentified body and 131 of which 23 people are critical in 13 hospitals across the cities.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has declared a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the diseased and Rs 50,000 for those injured and medical costs for those undergoing hospitalisation.

"We do not want to proceed with any kind of pre-supposition and speculate. All groups who have the capacity are suspected. All angles will be explored, leads will be followed without any predetermination of the cause," said Chidambaram while talking to the media.

Two of the blast sites at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar which he described faced medium to high intensity blasts. The other site at Dadar Kabutarkhana faced a low intensity blast, he said.

Chidambaram admitted that there was no intelligence inputs related to this incident.

"There have been no inputs from the central and state agencies. This cannot be refferd to as an intelligence failure since we keep talking to each other every hour. The group has worked in a clandestine manner and so could not be tracked," he said.

Teams from the NSG and CFSL in Delhi and Mumbai have reached Mumbai on Wednesday night and are working closely with the Maharashtra Anti Terror squad and the crime branch.

Referring to the nature of the blast as per preliminary investigation reports, the home minister clarified that the blasts were not executed with the help of a remote trigger.

"Ammonium nitrate has been used with a timer device. The three blasts were separated by a 8 to 10 minute interval that shows it was a coordinated terror attack," he said.

The home minister did not rule out the possibility of a 'retaliation of action' taken by the Maharashtra police in the last couple of months.

"Only last week the police has arrested two Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives and CPM Mao gang operatives in April and May. An angle of retaliation of these arrests cannot be ruled out and will be investigated," he said.

He lauded the efforts of the Mumbai police saying that they have been doing a 'good job' and were able to act more swiftly and have been able to foil at least other terrorist attempts.

"It is after 31 months from the 26/11 attacks that Mumbai has faced blasts again during which the city has been reasonably secure. The Mumbai police since then have build their capacities in terms of personnel and infrastructure. Even before I reached the site at night the forensic experts from the Maharashtra forensic lab had finished gathering evidence from all the three spots. All sites have been barricaded," he said.

The forensics team has collected evidence related to nature of the explosive, trigger of timer, container or boxes placed and damage it caused which they have done well, he said. All the three sites, he confirmed were under CCTV surveillance .

The location of the three sites - Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri bazaar - which are predominantly business hubs, dominated by Gujaratis, he said had nothing to do with people of any particular 'linguistic community'.

"These places are over-crowded and high density areas and so were targeted," he said.

He said he saluted the resilience of Mumbaikars who have gone back to work and children to schools and said their spirit and their efforts need to be acknowledged.

Some numbers till Thursday morning:
17 dead

1 severed head not identified

131 admitted to 13 hospitals

Of 131, 26 discharged, 82 stable and 23 seriously injured

Rs 5 lakh declared for dead

Rs 50,000 for injured

Hospitalisation charges for those admitted

First Published: Jul 14, 2011 14:12 IST