Chidambaram denies intelligence failure

Indian police inspects the site of an explosion outside a German Bakery business close to the Osho Ashram in Pune, India, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010. A bomb detonated in a crowded bakery popular with foreigners in western India killing nine people and wounding 57, officials said Sunday, the first terrorist attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai massacre. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)   | Photo Credit: Rafiq Maqbool

Dismissing "intelligence failure" in the Pune blast, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said the terrorists have hit a "soft target" like the German bakery which is frequented by foreigners and Indians alike.

He maintained that the "hard targets" like the Osho Ashram and the Jewish Chabad House located near the bakery had been surveyed by U.S. Lashker-e-Taiba suspect David Headley during his visit to India and the area was "in the radar" of security agencies for some time.

"But apart from hard targets, there are soft targets... All these (the German bakery where the blast took place yesterday and an Italian restaurant nearby) are soft targets where foreigners and Indians congregate especially during the peak hours," he told reporters here after visiting local hospitals to meet the injured in the terror attack.

The Home Minister said the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has taken over the case and constituted teams to investigate the blast.

He announced a compensation of Rs. five lakh to the families of those killed in the attack.

'Bomb was kept in backpack'

After an early morning visit, Mr. Chidambaram told reporters that the terrorist who brought the bomb to the German bakery on Saturday evening may have posed as a customer.

“The bomb was apparently planted in a backpack and left there. The person apparently came there as a customer, unlike the usual gun-wielding terror attacks,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram said forensic experts were trying to determine what explosives were used and how the bomb was triggered.

"All the information available to us at the moment points to a plot to explode a device in a place that is frequented by foreigners as well as Indians,'' Mr. Chidambaram said.

The deafening blast also injured nearly 60 people, some of them critically.

Unless these soft targets also adopt strict security measures, it would be difficult to detect things, he said.

He said whether the German bakery had put in place any such measures would be probed.

It was the worst terror attack in India after November 2008 when a group of Pakistani terrorists went on a killing spree in Mumbai leaving 166 Indians and foreigners dead.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 6:13:52 AM |

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