Forty-eight hours after the twin bomb blasts, the Hyderabad city police claimed that they had some clues which they could not disclose, even as sources maintained that there are no specific clues and they are still groping in the dark.
Refuting criticism that they did not act even after receiving alerts, Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma said Saturday that they had taken all precautionary measures after a team from the state Intelligence interrogated the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Sayed Maqbool, arrested in Delhi in October last year. Maqbool had revealed that he had conducted a recce of five places in the city, including Dilsukhnagar.
“We did our best but I would like to submit humbly that no amount of explanation from our side can suffice the loss of lives,” Sharma said, rather emotionally.
The Hyderabad city police chief however took pains to explain, in minutest detail, how they acted after interrogating Maqbool and also after receiving the general alerts from the Centre.
Addressing a crowded press conference, Anurag Sharma said the CCTV at the blast site was functioning till 8.30 p.m. on February 21, the day the twin blasts took place. “We are analysing the footage,” he said.
He said a total of 303 CCTVs were installed in the city for traffic management of which 23 had become non-functional and removed. Out of the 265 CCTVs functioning, 15 were temporarily out of order.
Sharma said on November 15, a team from the state Intelligence wing had gone to Delhi where they interrogated IM operative Maqbool. He had disclosed that a recce was conducted by him and another IM operative, Imran, of five places in the city -- Dilsukhnagar, Tank Bund, Ranigunj, Begum Bazaar and Abids. “We did not take any warning lightly,” he insisted.
He said on February 15, they received an alert which merely stated that the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore could be targeted for retaliatory attacks in view of hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
“Our efforts commenced in November last year itself. At that time, we were already in a state of high alert due to the incidents in Old City. We had also requisitioned forces and 200 pickets were deployed. We regularly conducted vehicle checks,” he said.
Giving out the specifics of the measures taken up, Sharma said they conducted 1416 vehicle checks in November, 1401 in December, 1364 in January and 1245 in February.
Similarly, the police conducted recce and mock drills with anti-terror commando force Octopus 16 times since November. The bomb disposal teams conducted 2125 checks in November, 2171 in December, 2153 in January and 1554 in February.
“Since there is a Naxal problem, the teams focused on culverts and checked 107 of them in November, 143 in December, 75 in January and 58 in February,” he said.
He pointed out that in Dilsukhnagar and Malakpet alone, the teams conducted 67 checks since November, 27 checks in Abids, 171 checks in Tank Bund, 17 times in Begum Bazar, 135 times in Lal Darwaza and 72 times in Ranigunj.
To a volley of questions with regard to the twin bomb blasts, Anurag Sharma said that so far they have not arrested anyone. “We are gathering material and other evidence from the site and they are under examination. Unless we complete this process, we cannot say which terror outfit was behind the blasts,” he said when asked whether IM was behind the twin blasts.
He said that IEDs were used with ammonium nitrate and timers.The probe has been handedover to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and a reward of `10 lakh will be given to anyone who can provide information on the blasts, Sharma said.