'Anti-sabotage checks, mock drills and vehicle checking were taken up’
The Hyderabad police did not neglect the Centre’s warning messages about a possible terror strike in the State capital. The alerts were shared with field-level staff and anti-sabotage checks, mock drills and vehicle checking were taken up to prevent any terrorist activity, city police commissioner Anurag Sharma said here on Saturday.
Speaking to media persons for the first time two days after the major terror strike in the country, Mr. Sharma stonewalled a volley of questions on the progress of investigations into the twin blasts that claimed 16 lives and injured 117 people. He refused to identify any group as being behind the terror attack. He also stressed that none was taken into custody and Abdul Wasey, twice injured in terror attacks, was not a suspect in the case.
Mr. Sharma disagreed with questioners who asked whether the Centre’s alerts were taken lightly. “The alerts were taken seriously and passed onto the ground-level forces,” the city police chief explained.
The investigation has been taken over by the special investigation team (SIT) of the crime branch headed by Additional CP, Sandeep Shandilya. Six special teams have been formed to investigate the blasts.
Mr. Sharma disclosed that the Central agencies had sent a circular about a possible terror strike in Hyderabad on November 15. The alert said that members of an Indian Mujahideen (IM) module recceed Laldarwaza, Begum Bazaar, Abids, Ranigunj and Tank Bund. Since then, extensive vehicle checking was organised.
Bomb disposal teams conducted anti-sabotage checks, mock security drills at commercial complexes and huge public buildings in association with OCTOPUS teams. “We did our best,” he said adding that the terror operatives still managed to execute their plan.
Rejecting reports that CCTV cameras were not functioning at the time of blast, Mr. Sharma maintained that Hyderabad had 303 cameras, of which 265 were functioning. Of the two cameras at Dilsukhangar, the police obtained video footage.
“It is of some utility for investigation,” was all he was prepared to disclose. He also disputed media reports that CCTV camera wires were cut four days before the blasts.
The Commissioner dismissed as “speculation” reports that he was the target of the terror attack as he had left the Saibaba Temple at Dilsukhnagar minutes before the blasts, some distance away. He said there was no evidence to think so and only the persons who were behind the terror attacks should be able to explain it.
Mr. Sharma was confident of cracking the case shortly.