Their involvement is strongly suspected due to their antecedents since 2005

The names of two of the 50 most wanted terrorists of India to be sheltered by Pakistan – Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal – are again on the top in the minds of police officials investigating the blasts at Dilsukhnagar here.

The brothers belonging to Bhatkal town in Karnataka, who are believed to be operating from Karachi, have been identified with a dozen blasts across the country since 2005, including the Lumbini Park and Gokul chat blasts here in 2007. They are considered the Indian faces of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, carrying out activities in the name of the Indian Mujahideen.

Strong suspicion

A top police official told The Hindu that the investigation was going on with an open mind but the involvement of the Bhatkal brothers was strongly suspected. The investigation was a painstaking effort, putting together all available inputs and eliminating elements that did not fall in place. A picture will emerge but it will take time.

It was well known that the brothers were behind the blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul chat bhandar. However, they would not have done it all by themselves, but taken the help of their associates from Azamgarh or any other place to execute the operation, he said. By doing this, ultimately, there would be no traces of a local hand. The explosives too would have been brought from outside, he added.

Guarded approach

He said the police were guarded in not publicly identifying Indian Mujahideen with the latest incident because of the flip-flop in the investigation of the Mecca Masjid blast which led to the arrest of several Muslim youths while the actual culprits were found to be right wing activists.

Asked why Hyderabad could have been targeted, he said the explosion appeared to be part of a cycle as similar incidents occurred at several places like Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Jaipur after the last occasion here. But, the “trigger” could be the hanging of Kasab and Afzal Guru. This was again a matter of contention because it was found in the interrogation of a person arrested by the Delhi police that the terrorists had carried out a recce of Dilsukhnagar in July, while the hangings took place recently.

He also said the footage of a man captured by the surveillance camera of the traffic police at Dilsukhnagar showing him abandoning a bicycle laden with a bag, suspected to be containing the bomb, was too blurred to figure out his face.