Monday, July 28, 2008

Police gather leads on Bangalore blasts

Police gather leads on Bangalore blasts
Bs Reporter / Chennai/ Bangalore July 28, 2008, 4:14 IST

Jolted by Friday’s low intensity serial blasts, the Bangalore police have knocked on the doors of the semiconductor industry to understand the use of microchips in the bombs that claimed a woman’s life and injured nearly half-a-dozen persons at eight locations in the city.

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“We have learnt that microchips (integrated circuits), powered by batteries, were used to time the explosions,” top police officials told Business Standard while deconstructing an improved explosive device (IED) that was defused and recovered from near a shopping mall on Hosur Road on Saturday morning.

The officials said they had decided to rope in chip-design experts, whom they preferred not to name, to study the complexity of the technology that was used.

Unlike bombings in other parts of the country where mobile phones were used, in Bangalore, the police have not recovered mobile phones from any of the blast sites. The live IED recovered from near the shopping mall was a mixture of ammonium nitrate flurry and shrapnel connected to a microchip that was powered by a battery.

Bangalore police commissioner Shankar M Bidari said: “The IED was capable of causing a high-intensity blast. We are trying to find out why it did not explode. Experts are investigating why the embedded chip, which normally performs date-related functions, did not activate. The circuitry is being examined for missing links.”

The IED, however, did cause some high-voltage drama on the Adugodi Road which is flanked by commercial establishments. The explosives packed in a cement was noticed by a sugarcane juice seller around 9.45 am near a tea shop on the footpath near the old checkpost at Madivala.

According to police, the cement pot was found at an isolated place by tea shop owner Rajamani three days ago and he shifted it near his shop in order to use it as chair for his customers. But alarm bells rang loud when the juice-seller noticed two wires connected to a small electric device. The police were alerted and subsequently the bomb was defused.

Following this, the police intensified the search for suspicious objects across the city. Shopping malls and cinema halls, which teem with people during the weekends, ran low on business as anxiety levels increased among the city denizens following Friday’s blasts.

The police, however, expressed optimism in nabbing the culprits. Though media speculated about the involvement of SIMI, HUJI, Laskhar-e-Toiba and other extremist organisations in the blasts, Bidari maintained: “It is too early to say which organisation is involved. We are at it.”

Meanwhile, a political blame game has commenced in the capital with the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress trading charges keeping in mind the coming Lok Sabha polls and the Greater Bangalore City Corporation elections.

While chief minister B S Yeddyurappa alleged that the blasts were part of a political conspiracy to tarnish his image, the Congress leaders alleged that the intelligence machinery had failed miserably.


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