Police picked up five persons for questioning in connection with Friday terror attack in which a police constable was shot dead in old city by unidentified gunmen, even as a reward of Rs. 5 lakh was announced on Saturday for any information leading to the apprehension of the assailants.

A beleaguered city police, facing criticism for not preventing the attack despite intelligence alerts, has entrusted the investigation to a special investigation team of the Detective Department on Saturday. However, in the absence of any concrete lead, the probe has not progressed much. As of now, the investigators are relying solely on the circumstantial evidences that lead to the premise that the attack could have been planned and executed by Viqaruddin, an alleged SIMI activist who grew into a Lashkar operative subsequently. Though an organisation named Tehreek Galba-e-Islam (TGI) left a CD containing a letter written in Urdu to claim responsibility, officers are inclined to link Viqaruddin to TGI.

This presumption is due to similarity of the bullet calibre (7.65 mm) used in killing of a home guard at Falaknuma in 2009 and those used in the 2008 shooting incident at IS Sadan in which a counter-intelligence officer was killed while trying to arrest Viqaruddin. An inescapable conclusion, intelligence officers say, is that the two-member hit team which sped away after killing constable Ramesh, could not have operated without some logistical support from local people at least in identifying the vulnerable targets like the unarmed stationary police picket at Khilwat.

Police officers concede that it is not easy to get a breakthrough in the investigation as the teams would have to think twice now before detaining anyone for questioning. This hesitancy comes in the backdrop of a notoriety the city police had acquired after it interrogated and arrested several youth holding them responsible for the Mecca Masjid blast case.

Three years later, a CBI probe now reveals that it was Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu fundamentalist organisation that could be responsible for the Mecca Masjid blast.

Pent up anger

A red-faced city police top brass is now mulling over the consequences of detaining any person on suspicion as there is pent up anger among minority community in view of the earlier blunder of arresting Muslim youth in Mecca Masjid blast case.