Kalamassery blasts: Fuel bottles were kept in carry bags with 2 IEDs for max impact, say police

Martin procured 50 gundu, six litres of petrol, 2 remote control equipment, 2 circuits & 2 large shopping bags from various shops in Kochi to assemble the explosive devices
Kalamassery blasts accused Dominic Martin
Kalamassery blasts accused Dominic Martin

KOCHI:  Fifty high-intensity crackers, known locally as gundu, six litres of petrol, two remote control devices, two circuits, and two large shopping bags. These were the items that Dominic Martin procured from various shops in Kochi to assemble the two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that he detonated at the Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Kalamassery on Sunday. The explosions claimed the lives of three persons and left over 50 injured.

Martin purchased six litres of petrol from various fuel pumps in the city, say police. He transferred two litres of the fuel equally into two bottles, which were placed along with the IEDs in the jute shopping bags to create fireballs for maximum impact.

Based on the findings, cops believe that there were two explosions inside the Zamra convention centre. Officers of the bomb detection and disposal squad of Kerala police, the bomb squad of special branch and explosives experts with the National Security Guard (NSG) reexamined the IED remnants on Monday. According to a preliminary analysis, gunpowder (used in crackers) was the explosive used. Martin supposedly told police that the bombs were kept in large shopping bags. 

With his background as an electrical foreman, Martin easily grasped the making of the bombs, said officers. He purchased 50 gund from a shop in Tripunithura for Rs 3,000. The other materials, including batteries, sensors and switches, are readily available in electrical shops, they added. The IEDs were assembled at his apartment in Athani. “He owns the apartment, which he regularly rents out. Martin accessed the flat on the pretext of painting work,” said an officer.

A search of his house in Thammanam did not yield any explosives or other items used for making the bombs. Martin told police officers that he learned bomb-making from reading articles and watching online videos. He reached the convention centre around 7:30 am carrying the two bags. He placed them inside the hall around 8:30 am. He triggered the IEDs using a remote control standing at one of the exits of the centre. 

“The explosions were low-intensity, but the fire they triggered, due to the presence of petrol, resulted in the burn injuries suffered by victims, including the three who were killed. If his intention was to alert authorities, an IED explosion alone would have served the purpose. In this case, however, bottles of petrol were placed along with the IEDs to set off a blaze. Considering the explosives used, he may have decided to supplement them with fuel to cause casualties,” an officer said.

Samples from the site of the blasts have been sent for forensic analysis. “The IEDs consisted of five elements -- explosives, detonators, a power source, mostly battery, switch and sensor. An electric heating device was a detonator. On triggering the remote control, the sensor inside the packet activated the battery, which powered the heater. The heater caused the explosives to detonate. The IEDs were rudimentary,” an officer said.

Martin’s Crime log

October 29/Sunday
5.30am-  Dominic Martin leaves his rented house in Thammanam
7.30am- He reaches the convention centre in Kalamassery on his white scooter
8.15-8.30am- He enters convention centre and places two shopping bags containing IEDs at two places in the central area of the convention centre
9.20am- The prayer session starts at the convention centre. Martin moves to the exit of the hall
9.35am-9.40am- He presses two remote control devices triggering blasts and subsequent fire. He records the visuals on his mobile phone
9.45am- Martin leaves the convention centre on his scooter
10.45am- He arrives at a hotel in Koratty and takes a room
10.50am- He goes live on Facebook and confesses to the crime
11am- Leaves the hotel to surrender before the police
12.15pm- Turns up at Kodakara police station taking responsibility of the blast at Kalamassery
1am- Police shifted Martin to an undisclosed place in Thrissur for interrogation
4pm- Shifted to AR Camp in Kalamassery for further interrogation
October 30/Monday
9am- Martin shifted  to Crime Branch office in Kalamassery for further interrogation
6.30pm- Police record his arrest

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