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Pressure cookers were used in Mumbai train blasts: police

TRIUMPHANT: Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy (centre) with Director-General of Police P.S. Pasricha (right) and chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad Raghuvanshi (left) announcing the breakthrough in the 7/11 train blasts probe, at a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. PHOTO: PTI

TRIUMPHANT: Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy (centre) with Director-General of Police P.S. Pasricha (right) and chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad Raghuvanshi (left) announcing the breakthrough in the 7/11 train blasts probe, at a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. PHOTO: PTI  

Special Correspondent

Packed with RDX and ammonium nitrate, they were taken in carry bags to Churchgate station

MUMBAI: More than 11 weeks after seven bombs ripped through seven of Mumbai's suburban trains at peak hour, killing 181 and injuring more than 700, the Mumbai police and its Anti-Terrorist Squad have got a clearer picture of who was responsible and how they did it.

"It has been a beautiful piece of highly professional investigation conducted by our team," said Mumbai Police Commissioner A.N. Roy at a press conference on Saturday.

Unlike the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993 as well as the Madrid and London blasts, the July 11 Mumbai blasts left behind no clues, he said. None of the seven bombs was left unexploded unlike in 1993, when within a day the police recovered two scooters laden with RDX and a Maruti car with firearms abandoned near the site of one of the blasts. They provided vital clues that led to the Memon family and thereafter the link with the underworld.

The July blasts left behind mountains of debris that had to be sifted to determine the nature of the bombs. It took some time before forensic tests of the fragments could determine that RDX had been used.

The police have concluded that pressure cookers were used for the blasts. They located the two shops where eight pressure cookers of five-litre capacity were bought. Seven of these were packed with RDX and ammonium nitrate, placed in carry bags covered with newspapers and an umbrella and then taken to the Churchgate station. The police do not know what was done with the eighth pressure cooker.

First class coaches

The men who planted the bombs entered Churchgate through a subway that leads directly to platforms 2 and 3 from where fast trains to the distant Mumbai suburbs leave. The first compartment that faces the subways is the first class general compartment. As a result, all the bombs were placed in these compartments on different trains.

Investigations revealed that the bombs were assembled in four places in Mumbai: Malad and Bandra on the west and Borivali East and Mumbra in the east. They were then brought to Bandra, to the flat rented by Faizal Sheikh, one of the main suspects who, the police say, is the western commander of the Laskhar-e-Taiba. It is from here that the bags with the pressure cooker bombs were transported by taxi to the Churchgate station in south Mumbai, the starting point for all trains on the Western Railway.

The timing device used in the bombs is still not clear, say the police. All the seven bombs went off within 11 minutes of each other.

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