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As it happened: Bangalore blasts won't impact state polls, says Shinde

by Adrija Bose  Apr 18, 2013 16:05 IST

#Bangalore   #BJP office   #blasts   #Karnataka polls   #NewsTracker  

4.05 PM: We have come to no conclusions, says Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that investigators have still not come to any conclusion over who may have been responsible for the Bangalore bomb blast. However he assured reporters in Delhi that the incident would not derail the electoral process in Karnataka.

Karnataka polls are scheduled for 5 May.

The Tamil Nadu police have also been brought in to help with the investigations.

Shinde also assured the nation that the perpetrators of the Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore blasts would be brought to justice.

2.33pm: No evidence to show IM’s Yasin Bhatkal planted Bangalore bomb, say sources

National Investigation Agency officials are scanning through CCTV footage not only from the BJP office but also from private offices and shops near the party’s office.

According to sources in the investigating agency, they have obtained a large amount of footage that has been sent for further image enhancement and use it to identify the individual who planted the explosive device.

However, contrary to some reports, the investigators have emphatically denied reports that Yasin Bhatkal alias Yasin Muhammad Siddibapa had been identified from the footage.

While some reports had claimed investigators had found footage of a man parking the motorcycle with the bomb, visiting a shop and then leaving, investigators said there was no evidence to suggest that the individual was Bhatkal, who is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan.

2.10 pm: Police DG says 5 Lakh for credible info about who triggered blast

LM Pachau, Director General of the Karnataka Police announced that Rs 5 Lakh would be awarded to any one with credible information on the blast that took place outside the BJP office in Bangalore on Wednesday. He added that  the police have formed three parties under the joint commissioner and getting assistance from central forensics lab.

The DG added that they were analysing some of the materials at the site and that investigations were on to determine the type of explosive that was used in the blast.

The preliminary reports from the site indicate that ammonium nitrate was used in the explosives. However other details are awaited.

Meanwhile the Commissioner of police said that they were preparing sketches as part of the investigation.

1.25 pm: Karnataka police say they are following crucial leads

The Karnataka police have said that they are following crucial leads to ascertain who was responsible for the bomb blast outside the BJP office in Bangalore. However the police refused to share details of intelligence so far, saying that the information was only on a need to know basis.

The police also asked people to maintain calm, and thanked them for their help.

12:30 pm: Security heightened in Chennai after Bangalore blast

Security was today stepped up across the city in the wake of bomb blasts in Bangalore, police said.

Patrolling and vigil at busy junctions, including railway station, airport and bus terminals, has been beefed up as a precautionary measure, police said.

Vehicles entering the city from other states are being subjected to thorough checks, they said.

At the Chennai Central Railway station, which attracts thousands of passengers daily, the police is checking vehicles parked in parking lot and also those entering there.

Police have pressed sniffer dogs into service and baggages of passengers were also being screened.

12. 05 pm: Security boosted in Gujarat too

Following the bomb blast in Bangalore, an alert has been sounded in Gujarat too, said a top police officer. The state police commissioners and district police heads in the state have also been alerted, said the officer adding that police are closely watching all sensitive and important places in the state.

11. 30 am: EC asks Karnataka govt, police to take all security measures for polls

Following the Bangalore blast, the Election Commission has asked the Karnataka government, particularly the police, to be “extremely cautious and take all security measures” for the 5 May polls to the Legislative Assembly, reported The Hindu.

Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla, in-charge of the Karnataka elections, told the newspaper that according to information received by the Commission, the incident was suspected to be a terror act. Read the Hindu article here.

10. 35 am: 'Investigation underway, don't politicise issue,' says Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar today appealed to the media to maintain calm and not to politicize the issue.

The chief minister said that the police have started a comprehensive investigation and the central agencies are also assisting them in the process. "Investigation is on to know the perpetrators behind the explosion, we will soon know the details," he said.

Shettar also said that the state will take care of all the loss to properties in the Bangalore blast and promised compensation.

10. 15 am: Registered owner of bike used in blast traced back to Chennai

The registration number on the two-wheeler that was used in the blast in Bangalore on Wednesday, TN 22 R 3769, has been traced to Chennai.

K S Sankaranarayanan of Thillai Ganga Nagar told the police that his son Sundar had used the vehicle, a Yamaha RX 135, with this registration number for a while. “The bike was in my son’s name. But we sold it about four years back, since my son left for the US”, he told the police.

Sankaranarayanan, said he was shocked when police knocked his door and told him that the bike had been used in the Bangalore blast.

Police sources said that while they were tracking down the number plate of the bike, they were also inquiring whether a fake number plate was used. The investigation officials have found that the motorcycle used in blast with this registration was a TVS Suzuki Max 100.

8. 50 am:  NIA, NSG team at Bangalore blast site; no breakthrough yet

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team as well as a team from the National Security Guard (NSG) are examining the Bangalore blast site, reported CNN-IBN.

Initial reports from the forensic sciences laboratory have indicated that ammonium nitrate was used to make the bomb that was placed on a stolen bike. Reports said that some sharp nails have also been found at the blast site indicating the bomb may have been packed with shrapnel to maximise damage. No other leads have been forthcoming in the case yet.

The police is reportedly trying to prepare sketches of the culprits based on eyewitness reports.

18 April, 2013, 8 am: Security beefed up in Mumbai

Mumbai has been put on high alert after after a blast outside BJP office in Bangalore left over 16 people injured, reported DNA.

Security has been increased at all important locations in the city like the airports and railway stations.

"After any terror attack in the country, the security is upped to ensure that our city is not targeted,"  a senior police officer said.

With 1993 blasts accused surrendering, the security at courts has also been increased.  Sources said along with hundreds of policemen, the quick response team (QRT), state reserve police force (SRPF) and the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) among other elite forces have been deployed in and around the premises of the court to prevent any untoward situation.

Updates closed for 17 April.

6:30 pm: SIM card and registration of bike used in attack recovered?

CNN-IBN reports that investigators have recovered details of the SIM card and the registration of the motorcycle on which the bomb was placed.

5:45 pm: Congress' Shakeel Ahmad says he has merely stated facts when he said BJP would benefit politically from the Bangalore blast

Despite widespread criticism over his tweet saying that the BJP would benefit politically from the Bangalore blast, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad refused to back down and said he had merely stated facts that were misunderstood by the BJP.

"I have made no allegations against the BJP. I have said, this has happened in front of the BJP's office before the elections, so people will sympathize with the BJP due to which they will get the benefit of more votes," Ahmad said.

Ahmad said his statement had been misunderstood by the BJP and he had merely been stating facts.

Offering an analogy in the hope of making things clearer, Ahmad said, "It is human nature that when there is an a tragedy in your house then there is sympathy in your favour."

The BJP needed to understand his statement first and then maybe they could discuss his statement, the Congress leader said.

He also tweeted his latest observation on the Bangalore blast despite strong opposition to his earlier tweet:

So no, don't expect an apology from him anytime soon.

5:10 pm: Finger of suspicion already pointing at Indian Mujahideen

Its been around six hours since the blast Zee News has quoted sources who have hinted at the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen in the blasts.

Is it a little premature to be speculating on who's behind it? Maybe, especially given the use of improvised explosive devices are used by various terror group.

5:00 pm: Did Karnataka police have an alert about a possible terror strike?

Times Now reported that the Karnataka police had received an alert from intelligence agencies warning them of a potential attack in Bangalore given the charged atmosphere in the state as state elections loom.

However, the channel reported that the alert was a general one and did not specify where the attack would be.

4:45 pm: Improvised explosive device kept on bike stolen from Hyderabad?

The improvised explosive device was reportedly kept on a motorcycle when it exploded, CNN-IBN reported.

The explosive device was placed on a motorcycle and investigators say it was stolen from Hyderabad and are presently in the process of tracing its owner, reported CNN-IBN.

4:40 pm: CCTV footage from BJP office may yield clues

According to an NDTV report, sources have said that CCTV footage from the BJP office shows a person parking a bike, going into a shop and then leaving. However, its not very clear whether it is the same person who placed the explosive device and police officials are still looking through CCTV footage for more clues.

The report also quoted intelligence officials as saying that the explosive used was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) but they aren't clear on how the bomb was set off.

4:15 pm: Gujarat also on high alert after blast in Bangalore

An alert has been sounded across Gujarat in the wake of the blast near BJP office in Bangalore today, a top police officer said.

"We have sounded alert to police commissioners and district police heads in the state following the bomb blast in Bangalore," state police chief Amitabh Pathak told PTI.

When asked whether security at state BJP office in Ahmedabad and other offices in districts was beefed up, Pathak said, "in alert situation, police keep a close vigil at all
sensitive and important places and installations in the state".

3. 15 pm: BJP says Congress should reprimand Shakeel Ahmed

"Has the Congress stooped so low that it has now started searching for politics even in a blast?," asked BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain addressing a press conference after the blast outside the BJP office in Bangalore.

Hussain said that  Congress president should reprimand Shakeel Ahmed for his insensitive tweet. "His comment will act as a salt on the wounds of victims," he said.

"We are not deterred by the blast. All our leaders will campaign in Karnataka. We do national politics and not vote bank politics," he further added.

3. 00 pm: Congress distances itself from Shakeel Ahmad's tweet

The Congress party distanced itself from spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad's tweet politicisng the Bangalore blast outside BJP office.

Senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said, "It's very unfortunate if someone is trying to politicise the issue. Party does not accept such nonsense," he said.

Earlier, Shakeel Ahmad, a Congress leader tweeted the the Bangalore blast will be a poltical advantage for the BJP. Read more.

2.32 pm: 'We have instituted an inquiry, says Home Minister

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has refused to confirm if the bomb blast outside the BJP office in Bangalore is an act of terror. Shinde who was mobbed by journalists in Kolkata, only said that he had authorised an inquiry. "I have instituted an inquiry. Special Secretary of Home department is inquiring into it", he said.

Shinde added that his ministry would have an interaction with the government of Karnataka and the police, and inquire into the incident. However he declined to comment further.

2.22 pm: No second blast in Bangalore, say police

The Bangalore commissioner of police has told IBN-7 that there has definitely been no second blast in the city. The clarification comes amid several media reports that several people had been injured as a result of a second explosion.

Meanwhile, RPN Singh (MoS Home) has also come out in criticism of Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmad's tweet, saying that "in matters relating to terror attacks, no political capital should be extracted".

Ahmad's tweet, which said that the BJP stood to gain political points if the blast outside the party office was confirmed to be a terror attack, has sparked a backlash on social media. Maybe it's time Rahul Gandhi put his social media battle plan into action!

2. 00 pm: Another blast in Bangalore?

Unconfirmed media reports say there may have been another blast in the Hebbal locality of Bangalore. Times Now reports that police have not confirmed the second blast. However, according to ABP news several have been injured in the second blast.

There's no official confirmation on this.

Police say that 500 gms of explosives have been found from the blast site. TV reports say NSG will reach the blast site to assist police in the probe.

1. 50 pm: Two of the victims in Bangalore blast were college students

Two of the people injured in the Malleshwaram blast were reportedly college students on their way home from tuition classes. One of them was 16-years-old, the other 18. Reports say a CRPF jawan has also been critically injured in the blast.

1. 30 pm: CCTV footage being collected, says police

Reports say the police is looking for a trigger device and CCTV footage in the area is being collected.  Police also said that the motorcycle found at the blast site was a stolen one.

The impact of the blast could have been worse if the bike was parked on the opposite side of the road where there are more buildings.

1. 15 pm: Karnataka Home Minister says BJP office was blast target

R Ashok, Karnataka Home Minister told reporters that the blast was a clear act of terror. "BJP office was the target of the blast." he said. "Appeal to people to remain calm. Culprits will be caught and punished," he added.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister said that only inquiry  will make things clear in the Bangalore blast case. He said the blast was aimed at Karnataka leader. "Just ahead of the elections, security is necessary. Only an inquiry will show what really happened," he said.

Earlier, police had said that the explosion was caused by a bomb that was placed on a motorcycle.

12. 55 pm: IED used to trigger blast, say reports

According to TV reports, police sources say IED (Improvised explosive device) was used to trigger the blast outside BJP office outside Bangalore.

The area has been cordoned off, and police are still investigating the site. One of the officials told CNN-IBN that none of the cars at that Bangalore blast site had a LPG kit.

 

12. 45 pm: If blast is a terror attack, it will help BJP politically: Congress

It seems, everything is politicized in our country--and that includes bomb blasts.

After this morning's bomb blast near the BJP office in Bangalore, Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad tweeted that if the blast is a terror attack, it will help BJP politically.

 

Minutes later, a twitter account for the BJP in Karnataka, retaliated, "Congress Spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad's tweet on blasts in Bangalore is insensitive and inhumane."

No wonder, our country is in a mess!

12 .40 pm: 16 people injured in Bangalore blast, confirms police

Reports say that police have confirmed 16 people including 8 police officials have been injured in the Bangalore blast.

LR Pachao, DGP, Karnataka said, "In all 16 have been injured. 8 of them are policemen. NIA and forensic teams are at the site."

12. 20 pm: RPN Singh appeals for peace, says police looking into all possibilities

Appealing for peace, RPN Singh, MoS, Home Ministry said that the police officials are looking at all possibilities in the blasts in Bangalore.

"We appeal for peace, don't pay heed to rumours. Home Ministry will provide every assistance that Karnataka Police needs," he said.

12.04 pm: NIA team reaches Bangalore blast site

Though it's not yet known if there's any terror angle, the NIA team has reached the spot and are investigating the site.

Meanwhile, the forensic team and a bomb squad are also investigating the area, said police.

Eyewitnesses reportedly heard a loud noise and most of them thought it was a transformer blast.

"When I came here, there was fire everywhere. Something was planted in the two-wheeler. The explosion could be heard even at 4 kms. People were scared," said an eye witness.

 

11. 50 am: Explosion caused by bomb, says Police Commissioner

Bangalore Police Commissioner, Raghvendra Auradkar, said that the explosion was caused by a bomb. "We feel that it is a motorcycle blast. It seems to be a bomb explosion," he said.

He said that 13 people including 8 policemen were injured in the blast, adding that two among them are critically injured.

11. 44 am: 'Motorcycle blast' caused explosion, say police

Police called the explosion a 'motorcycle blast', saying that the explosives were placed on a motorcycle. However, he refused to comment on the nature of the explosion.

"It is an explosion, however, we cannot say what kind of explosion," a police official said.

He confirmed that six people have been injured and two of them are critical.

11. 20 am: 'Hope its not a terror attack' says Balbir Punj

Reacting to the reports, BJP leader Balbir Punj said, "One only hopes that it is an accident and not an act by terrorists or political activists."

11.00 am: Blast outside BJP office in Bangalore, 6 injured

A low intensity explosion occurred outside the BJP office in Bangalore in Malleshwaram today leaving six people injured. Reports say the explosions took place at around 10:45 am.

Although, there is no official word on the exact nature of the blast near the BJP office, some reports claimed that it was a car gas cylinder explosion.

Unconfirmed media reports claim that the blast took place in a cylinder that was lying inside a vehicle.

Screen grab/ibnlive

Screen grab/ibnlive

Fire brigade officials have doused the fire even as all top police officials, including the police commissioner, are at the spot to ascertain the nature of the blast.

BG Chengappa, Director, fire services said that 3 cars and 1 bike were damaged due to fire. However, he refused to comment on the nature of the blast.

Today is the last day to file nominations of candidates for the Karnataka polls. So, police say it could be 'foul play'. However, they have not rejected the possibility that it could be just an accident too.

No casualties have been reported so far. All the injured have been taken to the nearby hospital.