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10 injured as IED blast rocks Bengaluru's Rameshwaram Cafe; case filed under UAPA

Investigators found a 9v battery, a timer and a few nuts and bolts scattered around the crime scene. The suspect was identified as a man aged between 30 and 35 years.
Last Updated 01 March 2024, 08:47 IST

Bengaluru: As many as 10 people, including customers and staff, sustained injuries after a low-intensity blast was triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the popular The Rameshwaram Cafe in the Brookefield area of Whitefield in eastern Bengaluru.

At around 1.06 pm, as the cafe was bustling with nearly 30 to 35 customers the IED, affixed with a timer, triggered the explosion.

Investigators found a 9v battery, a timer and a few nuts and bolts scattered around the crime scene.

Panic gripped the IT hub as Fire and Emergency personnel and police investigators rushed to the spot.

The suspect was identified as a man aged between 30 and 35 years. “The man ordered Rava idli before keeping the bag near a tree next to the kitchen sink,” Deputy CM DK Shivakumar said while addressing the media. “A timer was fixed and the blast occurred exactly an hour later. It was a low-intensity blast.”

The DyCM said that the movement of the suspect, who reached the eatery via bus, has been recorded including his facial data. “Eight to nine teams have been formed and the probe is being carried out by the Central Crime Branch (CCB). No need to panic.”

Home Minister G Parameshwara said the footage on BMTC buses is being examined.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah confirmed that the explosion was caused by an IED and assured strict action against the culprits.

Divya Raghavendra, Founder and MD, of Rameshwaram Cafe, clarified to DH that "There were no gas cylinders in the vicinity of the hand wash area. We have complied with all the safety requirements of the fire department. The bag left behind by the suspect was found in the hand wash area. Police are investigating and we are supporting the investigations," Divya said. She added that the police have confirmed to her that the blast was not caused by any material found in the restaurant, but is a result of some material that was brought into the restaurant from outside. “Our concern is to ensure that the injured are safe. We have informed the customer's family that we will take care of the injured person," she added. She also asserted that in the hand wash area, there is no place to sit. "We have two emergency exits. We have 20 to 30 fire extinguishers.”

A case has been registered at the HAL police station under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Explosive Substances Act.

The bomb squad, canine squad, anti-sabotage teams and forensic analysts were at the spot. A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials was also at the spot.

Senior police and fire officers, including DG & IGP Alok Mohan, Commissioner B Dayananda, and Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Raman Gupta, too, visited the crime scene.

The injured

Visuals from the spot seen by DH painted a grim picture. Soon after the explosions, people scrambled to exit the cafe and the loud explosion kept their ears ringing, eyewitnesses said.

The injured were moved to the local Brookfield Multi Speciality Hospital and Vydehi Hospital.

Among the injured were Farooq (19), a hotel staff, Deepanshu (23), an employee of Amazon Company, Swarnamba (49) suffered 40% burn injury, Mohan (41), Nagashree (35), Momi (30), Balaram Krishnan (31), Navya (25), Srinivas (67) and the name of the tenth person, who sustained minor injuries, is yet to be ascertained by the police. Shyam Sundar, Swarnamba’s husband, told DH that her condition was stable and she would recover from the burn injuries.

Home Minister Parameshwara said that three admitted at Brookefield Hospital sustained injuries to the ears and hands.

Eyewitness accounts

Nagaraj, an eyewitness who helped the injured to the hospital in an autorickshaw said: “The explosion was very loud. Thick smoke engulfed the entire restaurant to an extent that even the name board was invisible."

Manjunath KP, a local who helped the injured, said the explosion occurred next to the wash basin. "The woman was bleeding extensively on one part of the body," Manjunath told DH. "She was sent to the hospital in a private vehicle. No flame was seen."

Timeline

12-1 pm: The suspect arrives and leaves

1.06 pm: Explosion is triggered

1.10 pm: People in nearby establishments help the victims

1.20 pm: Fire officials arrive at the spot

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(Published 01 March 2024, 08:47 IST)

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