Abdul Samad Bhatkal, prime suspect in the February 13 Pune German Bakery blast who was recently arrested from Mangalore, was seen near the eatery a fortnight before the explosion, a senior ATS official said on Tuesday.

“Abdul was seen in the area (Koregaon Park) where the bakery is located following which a hunt had been launched for him. Our probe suggests, he visited Pune a fortnight before the explosion,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“In fact, he was seen twice near the bakery in the last week of January...,” the official said.

Abdul, a close aide of alleged key conspirator in the German bakery blast Yasin Bhatkal, was arrested from Mangalore and brought here on Monday in connection with a 2009 arms seizure case.

In August 2009, three persons were arrested from south Mumbai for possession of illegal firearms allegedly supplied by Abdul, who was on Tuesday remanded in police custody till June 1 by a local court in the case.

Earlier in the day, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Abdul was the prime suspect in the German Bakery blast, which claimed 17 lives.