Karnataka cops get leads on men behind stadium blasts

Karnataka cops get leads on men behind stadium blasts

Bomb diffuser squad and policemen inspect the site where they found another bomb on the main gate of Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Sunday. PTI

“We got some leads behind the two crude bombs that were found and defused on Sunday and the twin blasts on Saturday near the cricket stadium,” Additional Police Commissioner M.R. Pujar told reporters.

The police have set up five investigation teams to nab the culprits behind the incidents.
The bomb squad discovered two crude bombs wrapped in plastic covers - one behind a bus stand near the VIP gate Number 1 and the other tucked behind a billboard pole near gate Number 9 of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium where T20 matches of the IPL-III are being held since March 16. Nine league matches were held till Saturday.

“We hope to arrest the unidentified suspects soon, as investigations into the twin blasts and bombs planted at the stadium have given us enough clues on who could be behind them,” Pujar said.

The explosives were detected in course of search operations launched late Saturday with the bomb squad, sniffer dogs and anti-sabotage teams that were pressed in to sanitise the entire area.

“Besides deploying additional forces in and around the stadium, we are checking every nook and corner of the venue to detect if any suspicious objects or explosive materials are hidden,” Pujar pointed out.

About 500 billboards and advertising flex-o-boards have been erected in and around the stadium in connection with the IPL.

“Many of the advertising billboards will be pulled down to prevent placing suspicious objects or harmful materials,” Pujar noted. About 10 people - one security officer, six policemen and three cricket fans - were injured in the twin blasts Saturday nearly an hour before the league match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians.

“It is premature to disclose the leads as investigations are at an advanced stage. How can we disclose who are behind the incidents unless we first arrest suspects?" Pujar retorted when asked about the identity of the culprits.

In a related development, top officials of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), which stages the matches at the sprawling stadium in the heart of the city, met Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari to discuss the security arrangements for the matches.

“We have sought adequate security and extra vigil in and around the stadium to ensure no untoward incident takes place during the crucial semi-final matches next Wednesday and Thursday,” KSCA secretary and former Indian batsman Brijesh Patel told reporters.

The two semi-finals werer later in the day shifted from Bangalore to Navi Mumbai by the IPL officials as the blasts and bombs near the Bangalore stadium caused serious concern to the organisers, teams and the police alike.

Though the twin blasts caused panic in the city and sent the police into a tizzy, the detection of two crude bombs on Sunday raised fears about the safety and security at the stadium during the semi finals.

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