ibnlive » India

Jul 29, 2008 at 01:32am IST

Stroke of luck for Surat, car bombs failed

New Delhi/Ahmedabad: Terrorists wanted to strike Ahmedabad and Surat simultaneously on Saturday but mercifully their plan went awry and one city was spared of their bombs.

As many as 17 bomb explosions in Ahmedabad on Saturday killed at least 50 people and injured over 200. The ‘bombs’ placed in three Maruti Wagon R cars in Surat didn’t explode and are now vital clues for the police.

An unexploded bomb was found in a car near an electric transformer in Surat on Monday. The recovery of the latest bomb comes after two explosives-laden cars were discovered in the city on Sunday.

The police have released the sketch of a terror suspect who allegedly parked one of the cars in Surat on Sunday. Sources tell CNN-IBN all the cars were stolen from Navi Mumbai near Mumbai and brought to Surat with forged number plates of Vadodara city.

Toll tax records indicate the cars were first brought from Navi Mumbai to Surat, taken to Vadodara, then to Ahemdabad and then again sent to Surat.

“The cars have been traced to their original owners in Navi Mumbai. The thefts of the cars was reported to the local police on July 8 and July 15,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor.

Police seized another Wagon R on Monday and detained three of its occupants after British currency worth Rs 2 lakh was found concealed in a polythene bag under the car seat.

Investigators refused to comment on the three persons detained but suspect the money they were carrying may have come via the hawala route. The three cars found with explosives are not a coincidence, say officials.

Evidence collected till Monday reveals the bombs placed in the two cities were marked serially from 1 to 24 and were timed to explode serially in over two hours. Ammonium nitrate, gelatin sticks, splinters, nuts and bolts were used to make the bombs and table clocks were used as timers—the same ingredients used in the blasts in Jaipur of May 13.

Explosives packed in tiffin boxes and bags were laden on around 13 bicycles in Ahmedabad. Two bombs were placed on CNG and LPG cars but they did not explode.

The Ahmedabad police have arrested Abdul Halim Maulavi, an alleged member of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India, in connection with the blasts.

Police officials tell CNN-IBN Maulavi, who was wanted in connection with the communal violence of 2002, was not directly involved in the serial blasts but could provide vital clues about the terrorists behind the serial blasts.

Halim allegedly acted as an operator for a terror outfit and helped send men to Pakistan and Bangladesh for terrorist training, they said.

<table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/07_2008/suratsuspect_sketch248.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="left">FACE TO TERROR: Police sketch of a man suspected to have parked a car bomb in Surat.</div></td> </tr> </table>

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