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Updated: April 25, 2013 11:07 IST

Minister, police at odds over number of blast arrests

Bangalore Bureau
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Ashok says four but city police maintain three have been held

Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, who also holds the Home portfolio, on Wednesday, said that four persons had been picked up by the police for investigations related to the bomb blast near the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in Bangalore.

Participating in a meet-the-press programme jointly organised by the Press Club of Bangalore and Bangalore Reporters’ Guild here, he said the arrested were Kichan Buhari, Basheer (alias Sunnati Basheer), Peer Mohideen and Mohideen — all from Tamil Nadu and who had links with the banned terror group Al Umma.

The police were on the lookout for another suspect Anwar Basha, also an accused in Coimbatore blast case [targeting Advani] who is said to be residing in Bangalore for the last one year.

‘Kingpin at large’

Mr. Ashok who stuck to his earlier stand that the blast was targeted at the BJP, declined to comment on whether the ongoing investigations had confirmed such a suspicion. “Investigations are still on by the police of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu besides the National Investigative Agency. Only at the end of it will police be able to say who are the conspirators are, the country of their origin and their targets.” He also pointed out that the kingpin of the blast was yet to be nabbed.

When asked how the BJP leaders including himself could suspect that their party was the target even before the conclusion of the investigations, he shot back: “If a bomb is planted in your house, will you not say that you were the target. In a similar way the BJP leaders have made the above remarks,” he said.

Numbers don’t match

The Home Minister’s claims were curiously at odds with what the police had to say. The city police insisted only three men have been arrested so far in connection with the April 17 Malleswaram blast and that the investigations are on to ascertain their links with any extremist group.

“We will not comment on the course of investigations,” said a senior police official heading the probe.

When asked about the existence of a fourth suspect person as mentioned by Mr. Ashok, the official said the police is not aware of such a person. As for the suspect Anwar Basha, the official said the person mentioned by Mr. Ashok is “definitely not on the list” of suspects.

Police Commissioner Raghavendra H. Auradkar, earlier in the day, had also confirmed to reporters about three arrests so far. “The role of other people in the blast is being probed and the suspects are being questioned on their motive and modus operandi.”

Circumstantial evidence

The men were picked up on circumstantial evidence and police are analysing the videos to ascertain whether they suspects were present at the site before or during the blast.

“We are waiting for the Forensics Science Lab report to ascertain the nature of explosives used in the blast,” Mr. Auradkar said and added that an identification parade of the arrested will be held.

Speculations rubbished

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police Pronab Mohanty said that the city police are not questioning the jailed People’s Democratic Party leader Abdul Naser Maudany. Mr. Maudany’s advocate Usman rubbished speculations about his client’s supposed role in the Malleswaram blast.

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