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Govt gropes in the dark with no specific clues

Investigators today probed "every possible hostile group" in their search for culprits behind the Mumbai serial blasts and the involvement of a suicide bomber was not being ruled out. Why is Mumbai the repeated target of terrorists? | Unsolved blasts in last two years| Earlier major attacks on Mumbai | In pics: A day after | Latest updates | List of those killed in the blasts

mumbai Updated: Jul 15, 2011 00:43 IST

Investigators on Thursday probed "every possible hostile group" in their search for culprits behind the Mumbai blasts and the involvement of a suicide bomber was not being ruled out.

As Mumbaikars slowly came to grips with last evening's three serial blasts, no specific leads emerged and authorities did not want to speculate on who could be involved merely saying that "all angles" are being probed.

Union home minister P Chidambaram made it clear that it was too early "to point a finger at any one group".

All groups "hostile to India" are on the "radar" in the probe, he said. The minister revised the death toll to 18 including a person with a severed head from 21 which was put out in an official list released by the ministry. 113 persons were injured of whom 23 are in a serious condition

Chidambaram rushed to Mumbai to review the situation and told reporters that ammonium nitrate, an explosive substance, was used in the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) triggered by timer devices to carry out the "well coordinated" terror attack.

He also ruled out the use of remote control to trigger the blasts in Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar areas.

Union home secretary RK Singh did not rule out the involvement of a suicide bomber.

"The NSG DG has informed that a body with circuit has been found from one of the sites. The body was found near the explosion site. We are not ruling out anything," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Singh was replying to a question about the possibility of involvement of a suicide bomber in the blasts as the body was found with a circuit near one of the blast sites.

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria said it was too early to say whether a "human bomb" was involved.

On the possibility of cross border linkages with yesterday's blasts, secretary (internal security) in the home ministry U K Bansal said "As of now there is no ground to believe that there is any link of anyone from across the border."

Addressing a 70-minute joint news conference with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Chidambaram said "there was no "intelligence failure" on the part of central and state agencies to warn of an attack.

Asked whether the explosions were timed to disrupt the Indo-Pak foreign minister-level talks this month end, he said "we are not ruling out anything. That angle will also be kept in mind."

ATS begins probe in Mumbai blasts; registers three cases

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday registered three cases in connection with the serial bombings that left 18 people dead and 131 injured.

"ATS has taken over the probe. Close to 12 joint teams of ATS and Crime Branch have been formed and we are being closely assisted by Central agencies. This case is being taken up on priority," ATS chief Rakesh Maria told reporters here.

Assuring people that no effort would be spared to bring the perpetrators of the latest terror strike to justice, he said, "We request the public to have faith and trust in the police. So far no (terror) case has gone undetected and the persons responsible for the blasts will be brought to book. We will get you the accused."

The maximum casualty in the last evening's terror attack was witnessed at Opera House where 10 people were killed. Seven persons died at the explosion at Zaveri Bazaar, the police officer said.

The third blast took place in Dadar.

"Samples have been taken from the blast sites. Forensic experts are sifting through the debris for more evidence. It is too early to say anything regarding the kind of explosives used," he said, adding all angles will be probed.

The ATS chief requested people not to indulge in rumour mongering. "Even this morning there were rumours about six unexploded bombs being found in the city. We request people not to believe in such rumours and assist the administration in maintaining peace.

With PTI / IANS inputs

First Published: Jul 14, 2011 19:46 IST