ibnlive » India

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:55pm IST

IM prime suspect in Mumbai serial blasts

Mumbai: A day after three blasts rocked Mumbai killing 17 and injuring 133 people, it is still unclear who was behind the blasts. Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday made it clear that all militant groups targetting India are on the list of suspects.

There are first signs of an emerging pattern between three blasts in 2010 at German Bakery in Pune, Jama Masjid in New Delhi and Sheetla Ghat in Varanasi and Wednesday's triple rush-hour blasts in Mumbai. The use of the deadly chemical ammonium nitrate and a timer device forming the core of the explosive design point out to the pattern.

Sources said there are initial estimates on the quantity of the explosive used at the three spots with about 900 grams of Ammonium Nitrate being used to trigger the Opera House blast, about 500 grams of the deadly chemical being used to bomb Zaveri Bazaar and about 250 grams of ammonium nitrate being used at the Dadar blast site.

The amount of the chemical used had a direct bearing on the casualty count with Opera House being the worst hit.

Chief of Anti Terrorist Squad, Maharashtra, Rakesh Maria said, "Ten people have been killed and 73 hurt in Opera House while seven killed and 50 hurt in Zaveri Bazaar."

Earlier, UK Bansal, Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry stirred the probe by suggesting there was a possibility of the blast being a suicide attack.

Bansal said, "There is a possibility that he was carrying a bomb but we're still investigating."

While police said they have substantial CCTV footage as a possible clue, the heavy rains post the blasts have affected some forensic gathering and may slow down a detailed analysis.

While authorities remained reluctant to name a specific group a suspect, sources maintain the patterns are too obvious to ignore the likely Indian Mujahideen (IM) angle. Since the 2008 arrest of a top IM module in Ahmedabad the Pune, Delhi and Varanasi blasts in 2010 have gone unsolved.

Mails sent post these blasts claiming responsibility too were traced to Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra. With intelligence sources confirming the module is attempting to regroup, the focus on IM is unlikely to go away.