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Updated: February 21, 2010 09:58 IST

Combing on in SIMI, Indian Mujahideen hub in Pune

Siddhesh Inamdar
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A foreign national who was injured in the Pune blast being treated at Sasoon hospital in Pune. Photo: Vivek Bendre
A foreign national who was injured in the Pune blast being treated at Sasoon hospital in Pune. Photo: Vivek Bendre

As part of investigations into the February 13 bombing of the German Bakery, combing operations are on in many parts of Pune including Kondhwa, said to be a hub of Indian Mujahideen and Students Islamic Movement of India operatives, Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said on Saturday.

Asked about the possible involvement of Hindu terror groups, he told journalists here: “All options are open. We aren’t ruling out anyone. But it is more important to find the people who carried out the bombing. That will automatically lead us to the group.”

Meanwhile, the death toll went up to 13. Sudanese student Amjed Algazoli (22), studying at the Wadia College, became the third foreigner to succumb to his injuries. He had been admitted to the Inlaks Budhrani Hospital.

Atul Ganpat Anap (30) died in the King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Singh said the police had in October last instructed the German Bakery to step up security.

On October 9, officers of the Bund Garden police station handed over to the bakery a two-and-a-half page letter, instructing it to station security guards at the entrance, install CCTV [closed circuit television] cameras and check customer baggage. After that day, officers again went there and repeated the instructions which, however, were not followed, Mr. Singh said.

The letter was received by bakery deputy manager Pravin Pant, who was also the complainant in the First Information Report filed after the blast, the police chief said. Asked if action would be taken against the managers or owners, Mr. Singh said: “In the light of what has happened at the bakery, I don’t think it will practically be required to take any action.”

Not only the bakery, but malls and other commercial establishments were also given instructions to step up security.

To questions about Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan having spoken about arrests in the case, Mr. Singh said, “I don’t have any information. The investigation is on the right track. That’s all I can say.”

On newspaper reports that washing of the site, on initial suspicion that the blast was caused by an LPG cylinder, destroyed important forensic clues, he said: “There is no truth in that. No evidence was destroyed. All evidence has been obtained.”

Mr. Singh requested people not to make hoax calls about bomb blasts. “In the whole of 2009, we received 34 calls. From January 1 to February 12 this year, we received five. Between February 13, the day of the blast, and today [Saturday], we received 23. We can’t neglect even a single call. Please don’t make hoax calls.”

About the sensitisation programme undertaken by the police, he said: “Officers from the rank of ACP to CP have reached 43,500 students from 103 high schools and colleges in Pune.” The police asked students to be on the lookout for suspicious activities and to be careful in general.

The traffic police have issued a directive to two-wheeler riders not to cover their faces with scarves (normally a practice to avoid pollution).

It applies to women as well in the Koregaon Park and Pune Camp areas, where there are possible targets.

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