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Bengaluru blast: Home minister Parameshwara says breakthrough soon as NIA and NSG join probe

The minister drew similarities between the restaurant incident and the cooker blast in Mangaluru in November 2022.
Last Updated 03 March 2024, 16:49 IST

Bengaluru: Bengaluru police will soon arrest the man suspected of planting the bomb in the popular eatery Rameshwaram Cafe last Friday, Home Minister G Parameshwara said on Sunday. 

Ten people were injured in the blast, including a woman who suffered 40 per cent burns. 

The home minister also revealed that officials from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) have joined the investigation.

However, the primary investigations are being carried out by the Bengaluru police's Central Crime Branch (CCB).

Parameshwara took comfort in the fact that the nails and nuts in the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) used in the blast burst vertically. "If they had exploded sideways, it would have been life-threatening," he told reporters at his Sadashivanagar residence. 

He drew similarities between the restaurant incident and the cooker blast in Mangaluru in November 2022. 

"There is a technical similarity between the two incidents in the way the explosives were assembled,” he said. “The use of the battery and the way the timer was affixed looks technically arranged similarly. Right now, we cannot say exactly that a particular organisation did it.” 

Parameshwara earlier held a high-level meeting with senior police officials, including state police chief Alok Mohan and Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda. 

Meanwhile, social media was abuzz with rumours that a person named Abdul Saleem was arrested at Mydukur in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa in connection with the Bengaluru blast. Police officers from Bengaluru and Kadapa dispelled the claims. 

“Saleem is a Popular Front of India (PFI) leader wanted in a case in Telangana,” a Kadapa police officer told DH. “He has no connection with the Bengaluru case. The claims are baseless.” 

Saleem was arrested on March 2 by the NIA in the Nizamabad PFI case “involving an anti-India conspiracy by the banned outfit to carry out acts of terror and violence”, the central agency said, adding that the accused was the state secretary for the PFI Telangana North. 

Examination of bus footage

A preliminary probe by the police revealed that the suspect was aged between 30-35. CCTV footage from different angles showed the suspect in the restaurant and walking out wearing a white cap, a black face mask, spectacles, dark trousers and shoes and carrying a backpack. Another footage showed the suspect holding a plate of idly. 

Investigators from the CCB suspect that the bomber may have boarded a BMTC bus and fled. 

Parameshwara said over 40 CCTV cameras in and around the area where the blast occurred were being scoured by the investigators. 

"During the time of the explosion, 26 buses were moving,” the home minister said. “The footage from those buses is being examined. Since the investigation is on, I won’t share technical details.” 

Don’t indulge in speculation: Top cop

Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda asked the media not to indulge in speculation. 

“Once again appeal to all media friends not to indulge in speculation and reveal details of ongoing investigation,” the commissioner posted on X on Sunday. “Allow investigative agencies to work in a professional and independent manner.” 

Meanwhile, CCB officials intensified the probe and held a mahazar at the spot. The activity was also intensified at the Technical Support Centre in Adugodi.

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(Published 03 March 2024, 16:49 IST)

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