Four serial blasts rock Pune, one injured
Pune Police Commissioner Gulab Rao Pol described the explosions as an act of mischief but Union Home Secretary R K Singh said terror angle cannot be ruled out since it seems to be a planned attack.
A man allegedly carrying one of the bombs was injured in the explosions and has been taken into custody and is being interrogated, Singh said. He has been admitted to a local hospital.
Pol said the explosives carried by the injured man was kept in a cake box with sticky material, two detonators and a pencil cell.
One detonator went off in the explosion while the second was defused by a bomb disposal squad team.
Sushilkumar Shinde, who took over as Union Home Minister today, was due to have visited the city this evening but the trip was cancelled. Ironically, his last two days in the Power ministry was marked by a major power outage due to collapse of three grids.
He parried questions in Delhi on whether it was a terror attack, saying they were minor explosions and a probe was on into the blast that occurred between 7.27 pm and 8.15 pm.
Pune was rocked by a bomb blast at German Bakery in February 2010 in which 15 people were killed. The explosions occurred at Jangli Maharaj(JM) road at spots near Balgandharva Theatre, Dena Bank branch, a McDonald food outlet and Garware bridge. The first explosion went off at Balgandharva Theatre where the suspected bomber was injured.
The explosion outside McDonald went off in a dustbin while the blasts near Garware bridge and Dena bank were reported from a cycle which had a bucket with explosives strapped on, police said.
The entire J M Road area has been cordoned off. Pol said explosives at one of the sites was kept in a polythene bag.
Maharashtra ATS and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads were at the spot, police said.
Asked if it was a terror attack, Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal told PTI, “It is not appropriate to comment at this moment. Police teams have reached the spot and are looking into the matter.”
Maharashtra Additional DG (Law & Order) Satyapal Singh said, “the first explosion near Balgandharva Theatre occurred at 19.27 hours and the rest followed afterwards though the exact timings are not yet clear, while one cyclist was injured”.
Singh said he had no information about any fifth explosive device being found and defused.
Pol said, “All are minor explosions. The public need not panic. Police are alert and they are doing their job.”
“The bombs went off between 7.27 pm and 8.15 pm. One person has been injured. He is admitted at Sassoon hospital. Police is recording his statement. These blasts were of low intensity,” Shinde said.
Shinde said teams of National Investigation Agency(NIA) and a bomb disposal squad of National Security Guards(NSG) have been rushed to Pune.
“I was planned to go to Pune at 6 pm today to attend a function of ‘Lokmanya Tilak Prize' at Tilak theatre there. I have no information of being a terror attack,” he added.
“There were four low intensity bombs in which one person was injured. Terror angle cannot be ruled out as it appears that it was a planned attack,” Union Home Secretary R K Singh said.
“One person who allegedly carrying one of the bombs in a bag was injured and he has been taken into custody. His interrogation is going on,” he added.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil tonight reviewed the security situation in the state with senior officials.
Patil discussed the situation with top Home Department officials, sources said. An alert has been issued following the explosions, which come a day ahead of the Raksha Bandhan festivities.
A strict vigil will be maintained at crowded places like railway and bus stations, malls, markets and lodges, a Home Department official said.
Police said the injured person was identified as Dayanand Patil. Patil suffered injuries in his stomach, police added. Pol said Patil was a tailor based in the J M Road area.
Volunteers of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement were holding protests near the site of the first explosion at Balgandharva theatre.