Pune police have identified the suspect who set off at least one of the serial blasts in Pune on Wednesday as a local tailor named Dayanand Patil.
City Police Commissioner Gulab Rao Pol said Patil, a local resident and a tailor working in Junglee Maharaj Road, was injured in one of the blasts. Patil was admitted to a local hospital, taken into custody and was being interrogated.
Pol said the explosives carried by Patil was kept in a cake box with a sticky material, two detonators and a pencil cell. One detonator went off in the explosion; the second was defused by a bomb disposal squad team.
Pol’s revelation is significant because initial suspicion had focussed on the Indian Mujahideen, which has been involved in previous incidents of terror attacks int he city, as being the prime suspect. If confirmed as true, this could revive chatter about ‘saffron terror’ groups.
Pol said that “from the low-intensity blasts, we think there is no involvement of a terrorist group. There may be other groups which are not related with terrorist activities,” he said.
Asked about the possible motive behind the blasts, Pol said, “The intention was to make mischief and create panic in the mind of the public”. Noting that the explosions were all “minor”, he said there was no need for panic.
However, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said the terror angle could not be ruled out since the blasts seemed to be a planned attack.
Sushilkumar Shinde, who took over as Union Home Minister on Wednesday, was due to have visited the city on Wednesday evening, but the trip was cancelled. In New Delhi, he parried questions on whether it was a terror attack, saying they were minor explosions and a probe was on.
The explosions occurred at Janglee Maharaj (JM) road. Maharashtra ATS and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads were at the spot, police said.
Asked if it was a terror attack, Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal told PTI, “It is not appropriate to comment at this moment. Police teams have reached the spot and are looking into the matter.”
Maharashtra Additional DG (Law & Order) Satyapal Singh said he had no information that a fifth explosive device had been found and defused.
Shinde said teams of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and a bomb disposal squad of the National Security Guards (NSG) had been rushed to Pune.
Fourteen States have been put on high alert including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil reviewed the security situation in the State with senior officials. Patil discussed the situation with top Home Department officials, sources said. An alert has been issued following the explosions, which come a day ahead of the Raksha Bandhan festivities.
A strict vigil will be maintained at crowded places like railway and bus stations, malls, markets and lodges, a Home Department official said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the blasts were a wake-up call for the UPA government to take stern action against terror activities. The party said it supported the government on the issue of terrorism and demanded strong action against terror activities.
The Janata Dal (United) accused the UPA government of having failed to protect the life and property of the people of the country and said it had no moral right to remain in power anymore.
With inputs from PTI