Four low-intensity blasts rock Pune

Four coordinated low-intensity explosions struck the busy arterial J M road in the heart of Pune on Wednesday night raising the spectre of terror.

Pune Police Commissioner Gulab Rao Pol described the explosions as an act of mischief but Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the terror angle could not be ruled out since it seemed to be a planned attack.

Security personnel cordon of one of the blast sites. Pic/AFP

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.

Police 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.

"All are minor explosions. The public need not panic. Police are alert and they are doing their job," Pol said. 

Maharashtra ATS and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads have reached the spots, police said. 

 Police said the injured person has been 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.  

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil has reviewed the security situation with senior officials. Patil discussed the situation with top Home Department officials, sources said.  

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