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MUMBAI, July 15: Fourteen persons, including a woman, planted the bombs that ripped through seven local train carriages on Tuesday, police investigations so far have established.

It is still not clear of what material the bombs were made, but a black briefcase containing RDX, an electronic timer, and other explosives has been recovered from the blast site at Khar.

“The 14 worked in pairs so as to not arouse suspicion,” a senior police officer told DNA. “The mastermind, who hired them, fled the country the same night.”

An inquiry has been initiated into how the mastermind evaded customs and immigration checks at Sahar airport in the wake of instructions to block all exits from the country after the blasts.

An investigating officer said the mastermind recruited the couriers with the lure of money and brainwashed them. The couriers were dressed in formal attire with the men wearing ties to look like typical first-class commuters. They concealed the bombs in black suitcases.

Police believe they planted the bombs after boarding the trains at Churchgate station and alighted at Bombay Central and Dadar stations. “They acted in pairs to avoid arousing suspicion,” the officer said. “The one bearing the suitcase got off at Bombay Central and the other at Dadar. If an alert passenger asked the one who got off at Bombay Central why he was leaving his suitcase behind, the accomplice would have claimed to be the owner of the suitcase.”

Police believe the plan for the blasts was hatched way back in 2003 after the arrests of the accused in the Ghatkopar, Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway blasts.

60-70 calls traced to Gulf, Pak, Bangla

NEW DELHI: Security agencies have traced 60 to 70 calls made from Mumbai to locations in the Gulf, Pakistan, and Bangladesh just before and after the serial blasts. Investigation is on to ascertain to whom the calls were made.

Two days before the blasts, security agencies held a member of the Taliban at Delhi airport, reinforcing suspicion of a Qaeda link to terrorist groups operating in India.

The Afghan, identified as Niyaz Mohammad, was trying to leave the country under the assumed name of Islam Khan. He had been in the country for over a month during which he visited Ranchi and other places.

Meanwhile, Union home ministry officials said the claim made on behalf of Al Qaeda from Srinagar is being checked. The call has been traced to an STD booth at Jamalhatta; the caller was Kashmiri-speaking.

On the other hand, the ATS has despatched teams to Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pardesh, UP, Delhi, Gujarat and J&K in a hunt for the culprits. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba trail is being followed while members of the banned SIMI are under surveillance.

A crackdown on suspects continues.

A police source said eight persons have been detained in different parts of the country, including Delhi and Gujarat, for interrogation.


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