National

Mumbai blasts probe pursuing "all leads"

Mumbai : ATS chief Rakesh Maria and Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy after a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI Photo by Shirish Shete (PTI7_16_2011_000090B)  

Three days after the triple bomb blasts in Mumbai, investigators are still following up on “all leads.'' All agencies — the Mumbai Police, the Intelligence Bureau and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) —are pooling their efforts and resources to scan voluminous forensic evidence and CCTV footage in a bid to achieve a breakthrough.

“The investigations are being conducted at various levels and span a few States. They are progressing well and painstaking efforts are being taken by all the agencies involved in the probe,'' senior officials of the Union Home Ministry said on Saturday.

Even though ammonium nitrate was used in the three blasts on July 13, traces of TNT were also found. Officials say there was a “hallmark of sophistication'' involved in assembling the explosive devices.

The Union Home Ministry, concerned over the use of ammonium nitrate, a widely available fertilizer which is also used in the mining industry, is vigorously pushing for amendments to the Explosives Act, 1884 for regulating its use. The new rules proposed have been doing the rounds in several ministries over the past three years. Sources said its use by farmers would be permitted but its storage, movement and procurement would be regulated.

Over the past four years, terror organisations have used ammonium nitrate in the serial blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Varanasi and Jaipur. When mixed with engine oil, gelatine sticks, shrapnel, nuts, and bolts, it can be used as a deadly explosive to cause widespread damage to human life and property. As smuggling in RDX from across the border is increasingly becoming difficult, terrorists have used the fertilizer in assembling explosive devices and blasting them by use of timers, forensic experts say.

Its use in terror attacks is not something new. In the attack in Oklahoma City, U.S., in 1996 and the blasts in Bali, Indonesia, on October 2002 this chemical substance was used. It was banned last summer by the Karzai government in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has used it widely in street bombs.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 10:39:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mumbai-blasts-probe-pursuing-all-leads/article2233511.ece

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