Mumbai

Auto that ferried ‘IED’ suspect traced

Mystey device: The bomb detection squad checks the device on Monday.

Mystey device: The bomb detection squad checks the device on Monday.   | Photo Credit: File photo

Driver says he travelled only a short distance; cops think move may have been to throw them off scent

Investigations into the IED-like device found near a school in Kalamboli earlier this week have revealed that before bringing the device to the spot on a handcart, the suspect had alighted from an autorickshaw.

The police found the clue on scrutinising CCTV camera footage and traced the autorickshaw driver. “The autorickshaw driver told us the suspect had flagged him a very short distance from where he was dropped. The suspect got into the autorickshaw near Kalamboli highway, travelled around 400 metre and got down, and paid ₹10,” an officer from the Crime Branch of the Navi Mumbai Police said.

The police suspect that by hiring the autorickshaw, the man intended to confuse or hide something from the police. Otherwise, there was no need for him to travel in a vehicle for such a short distance.

The police are now scouring CCTV camera footage from across Kalamboli to find from where the suspect started to push the handcart. “Once we find the place from where the handcart was being pushed, we could get some leads,” the officer said.

Using large screens

While investigating the case of a serial rapist, the Navi Mumbai Police had put up projectors so that they could scrutinise CCTV camera footage on large screens.

“In this case as well, we intend to do the same. But for that, we are first collecting data. The footage from across Kalamboli is being sourced. The officers are working on war footing to crack this case,” an officer from the technical team investigating the case said.

Around 75 officers have been divided into five special teams to investigate the case. Every officer has been assigned work based on his or her expertise, varying from technical analysis, working with informers, scrutinising dump data, and minutely reviewing CCTV camera footage.

Reports awaited

The police are still awaiting reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ascertain if the device had any explosive material in it.

The watchman at Sudhagad school in Kalamboli noticed the device on Monday. After tests on it proved to be inconclusive, the police destroyed it with a controlled blast on Tuesday. The residual material was sent to the FSL.

The suspect is seen in footage wearing a blue shirt and a cap, with a handkerchief covering his face. The suspect is wanted under Sections 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections of the Explosive Substances Act.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 1:52:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/auto-that-ferried-ied-suspect-traced/article28104293.ece

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