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Bengaluru blast: Floor manager 'saw suspect carrying plate of idly, keeping bag of explosives'

Hariharan, the floor manager who emerged as the key witness, told cops that he saw the suspect with a plate of idly at 11.30 am keeping a bag he was holding at the place where the blast occurred, the FIR noted.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 05:41 IST

Bengaluru: A floor manager at the popular The Rameshwaram Cafe in eastern Bengaluru's Brookefield area, where an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) affixed with a timer exploded on Friday injuring 10 people, claimed that he saw the suspect abandoning a bag at the blast site.

The First Information Report (FIR), accessed by DH, was filed at the HAL police station based on a statement by Rajesh K V, the floor supervisor at the eatery located on Kundalahalli Main Road. Police have invoked charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Explosives Substances Act.

Hariharan, the floor manager who emerged as the key witness, told Rajesh that he saw the suspect with a plate of idly at 11.30 am keeping a bag he was holding at the place where the blast occurred, the FIR noted.

Rajesh, who was on duty from 6 am to 4 pm, told the police that between 12.50 pm and 1 pm, there was a loud explosion near the platform for people to sit next to the hand wash area where plates were kept. 

Following the blast, smoke emerged and a few customers collapsed while others began running in panic, the FIR noted. Rajesh said that due to the intensity of the blast, the tarpaulin shelter adjacent to the platform tore away, the metal roof was damaged and the glasses attached to the walls shattered.

The explosion also prompted other staff — Basha, Rajesh, Basavaraju, Amith, Naveen, Basavanna, Hariharan, Shiva, Jiya and Kapil — to come to the spot. The supervisor also found Farooq Hussain and some others bleeding and the tiles on the iron pillar near the platform had come off, nuts, bolts and washers were scattered and blast marks on the walls, the FIR noted.

Meanwhile, the man suspected to have planted the IED briefly looked at his wristwatch as he walked out of the eatery, fresh CCTV footage accessed by DH showed.

Footage from a nearby establishment showed the suspect wearing a white cap with the number 10, a black face mask, a backpack, a long-sleeved shirt, dark trousers and shoes around 11.50 am. Then, at 11:50:29, he quickly glanced at his wristwatch, moments after exiting the eatery.

While another footage showed the suspect holding the plate of rava idly inside the eatery, a third footage showed a close-up where the suspect with a moustache appeared to be wearing spectacles, while his chin was covered with the facemask.

CCTV footage from inside the eatery had the timestamp 12:55:31 when the IED exploded.

Senior police officers have yet to confirm the identity of the suspect, who is believed to be aged between 30 and 35.

“Investigation of the case has been handed over to Central Crime Branch (CCB),” Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda posted on X at 2.46 pm. “All the injured are recovering. No arrest made.”

Unverified reports claimed a few people were being questioned by the investigators.

Investigators found a 9v battery, a timer and a few nuts and bolts scattered around the crime scene. A team from the National Security Guard (NSG), Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) and police swept the area again on Saturday.

Case sections

UAPA: 15 (terrorist act) and 16 (punishment for terrorist act)

IPC: 307 (attempted murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy)

Explosive Substances Act: 3 (punishment for causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property), 4 (Punishment for attempt to cause an explosion, or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property)

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(Published 02 March 2024, 05:41 IST)

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