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Updated: February 14, 2010 01:17 IST

‘Headley surveyed ashram close to Pune blast site’

Special Correspondent
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In this courtroom drawing David Coleman Headley pleads not guilty before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on December 9, 2009, in Chicago to charges that accuse him of conspiring in the 26/11 attacks and of planning to launch an armed assault on a Danish newspaper.
In this courtroom drawing David Coleman Headley pleads not guilty before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on December 9, 2009, in Chicago to charges that accuse him of conspiring in the 26/11 attacks and of planning to launch an armed assault on a Danish newspaper.

The Centre on Saturday night said the scene of Pune's bomb blast was very close to Osho Ashram which had been surveyed by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley; the Maharashtra government had been alerted about this last October.

Making a statement to the media here, Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said it was worth noting that the German Bakery, the site of the blast, was about 200 yards away from the ashram, which was one of the sites surveyed by Headley. The Lashkar operative visited Mumbai and other parts of the country ahead of the November 26, 2008 terror attack. Headley, an American citizen of Pakistan origin, is now in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago and has been charged for planning terror attacks in Mumbai.

Mr. Pillai said the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) had alerted the Maharashtra police about the survey done by Headley. The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all State governments to be on "high alert" and warned citizens to refrain from opening unattended packages and report all such instances to the nearest police station or control room.

He said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was closely monitoring the situation from Tamil Nadu and the position was being reviewed continuously.

Giving details about the Pune blast, Mr. Pillai said that it "appears that an unattended package was noted by one of the waiters, and the blast occurred when he apparently attempted to open it.'' He said that according to latest reports received from the State police and the Intelligence Bureau, eight people were killed in the blast and 32 injured.

The Home Secretary said a forensic team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was being airlifted from the capital to Pune. The Anti-Terrorism Squad and forensic teams of the State police had reached the site and were conducting investigations.

Replying to queries, Mr. Pillai said the investigation had just begun and added that he would comment only after completion of the forensic probe.

He refused to get drawn to another question if the blast was aimed at derailing India-Pakistan talks slated for February 25.

Sources in the security establishment said the modus operandi and the intensity of the blast indicated that the site was chosen by suspected terrorists as it was frequented mostly by foreigners and any terror incident in Pune, the fast emerging IT hub and home to a number of prestigious educational institutions, would cause substantial loss of lives and create panic among citizens. It was also the first major terror attack since the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.


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Pune blast ‘significant’ terror act: Chidambaram February 14, 2010

We want access to Headley: Chidambaram February 14, 2010

Probe on right track, say police February 15, 2010

Foreign hand possible: Pillai February 15, 2010

CCS reviews security February 15, 2010

The hang-out will not be the same again February 16, 2010

Fresh look at security of ‘soft targets’ February 16, 2010

In a trice, two friends found themselves aflameFebruary 16, 2010

Headley’s status hearing set in Chicago court today February 23, 2010

Headley will change his plea to guilty March 17, 2010

India wants to quiz Headley’s wife March 18, 2010

Headley pleads guilty, escapes death penaltyMarch 19, 2010

India can question Headley in U.S.March 19, 2010

'Headley can be directly quizzed by India on U.S. soil'March 19, 2010

Lashkar had warned of Pune as targetFebruary 14, 2010

A reminder from terrorists: We don’t want India-Pakistan talksFebruary 14, 2010

Did Headley try to kill a woman ‘friend’?January 28, 2010

Headley pleads not guiltyJanuary 28, 2010

Maharashtra had received inputs but none was specific: Bhujbal February 13, 2010

9 killed, 40 injured in Pune bomb blastFebruary 13, 2010

High alert in Maharashtra February 13, 2010

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Rana pleads not guilty in 26/11 terror attacksJanuary 26, 2010

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Headley attended Lashkar training camps in Pakistan January 15, 2010

Headley told to scout possible terror targets post 26/11January 15, 2010

The truth about Mumbai matters January 19, 2010

Tape hints at Indian national in 26/11 control roomJanuary 16, 2010

Rana indicted with Headley for Mumbai terror attacksJanuary 15, 2010

Security beefed up at places recceed by Headley: ChavanFebruary 14, 2010

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