The original target of the perpetrators of the 2007 twin blasts, it has come to light, was one of the cruisers meant for joyride on the Hussainsagar Lake. It was a chance delay in securing change for a 500-rupee note that saved the day for those on the boat, the confession note of the 27-year-old Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Anique Shafiq Syed alias Khalid has revealed.
Laserium, by chance
In his confession note, a copy of which is available with this reporter, Anique said he had come to Lumbini Park in an auto from Secunderabad, but in the delay in securing loose change to pay the driver, he missed the boat.
Since the next trip was several minutes away, Anique spent time watching the laser show. Ten minutes into the show, he kept the bag stuffed with the explosive in a vacant adjacent seat and came out of the park.
At least 11 people were killed in the laserium following the blast.
Police said if the accused had succeeded in his attempt to bomb the cruiser, the casualties would have been very high. I would also have been difficult to trace bodies in the water.
“The explosion on the water would have had maximum impact and drawn worldwide attention,” a senior police officer said.
Bhatkal toured city
Incidentally, a fortnight before the blasts, Riyaz Bhatkal, co-founder of IM, had scouted several crowded places, including Lumbini Park. In fact, Bhatkal and his associates also went on the cruiser ride around the lake before deciding to bomb it, police said.
Bhatkal stayed in the city for three days before returning to Pune.
Anique received parcel
He had also informed Anique about a parcel being sent in three days in a State-owned bus.
The accused had collected the cello-taped parcel at Chaderghat.
Police sources reveal that Bhatkal was again in the city to instruct Anique to place one bomb in the cruiser and two others at Gokul Chat and the foot-over bridge (FoB) in Dilsukhnagar.
All the bombs were to go off at 7 p.m. While Bhatkal himself placed the bomb at Gokul Chat, Anique placed the bomb in the laserium and Mohammed Akbar Ismail Chaudhry alias Saeed placed another explosive at the FoB. While there were blasts at the laserium and Gokul Chat; the one at the FoB was defused by the bomb squad.
IM men watched blasts
The trio coolly returned to their flat, watched the live coverage of explosions on various television channels and later returned to Pune. Anique, Akbar Ismail Chaudhry and their associates Ahmed Shaikh and Ahmed Badhsah Shaikh were arrested by Maharashtra police in October 2008. Bhatkal continues to be at large.
All the four were slapped with cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act.
The Maharashtra police had also intimated the then Hyderabad Commissioner of Police B. Prasada Rao about the involvement of four accused in 2007 twin blasts.
The Maharashtra police had brought Anique to Hyderabad and reconstructed the crime scene at Lumbini Park.
IM operative was late for boat ride, decided to plant bomb at laserium instead