Four low-intensity blasts on and near Jangali Maharaj Road yesterday evening resulted in high tension in the city. The police said they suspected the serial blasts between 7.45 pm and 8.15 pm were the handiwork of a local group rather than trained terrorists.
One person was injured in the serial blasts. The police also defused a fifth bomb on JM Road at 9.31 pm. Roads were choked after the blasts, the first of which took place near Balgandharva Rangamandir, a stone’s throw from the ongoing IAC agitation at Kamla Arcade. The second blast occurred near McDonald’s restaurant on JM Road, the third near a Dena Bank ATM further down the road, and the fourth in the vicinity of Shoe Plaza near Garware bridge at 8.15 pm.
The bomb that was defused was in the front carrier of a bicycle opposite the Kalmadi petrol pump. The police said the explosives in the Balgandharva blast were in a bag a man was carrying and the bomb went off as he tried to find out why it had suddenly become heavier.
The man, who suffered minor injuries, was identified as Dayanand Bhaurao Patil (33), a resident of Uralikanchan. “Patil, who had visited the IAC agitation venue near Kamla Arcade, was carrying a tiffin in a polythene bag,” Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol said. “As he moved from there, he picked up his bag from where he had kept it and realised it was heavier. As Patil opened the bag, the bomb went off. Patil has sustained injuries to his stomach and legs.
The explosives in the MacDonald’s blast were in a refuse bin, and at the rest of the blast spots in blue polythene bags kept in the front carriers of Hero Ranger cycles. The police suspect the serial blasts were the handiwork of a local group and have ruled out the possibility of a terror attack. Pol said a pencil cell and detonators were used for the blasts.
The blasts happened at intervals of a few minutes, at spots separated by about 200 metres. The bomb disposal squad was combing the area for more suspicious objects. The police said the injured Patil, a tailor working with a tailoring firm in Deccan, had stopped to listen to a speech at the India Against Corruption agitation venue near Kamla Arcade. Patil was rushed to Sassoon General Hospital.
“Patil has sustained superficial injuries to his stomach, chin and left eyelid,” Sassoon dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale said. “The patient is stable and in conscious state.”
Bipin Patole of Patole Heights near Shoe Plaza, where the last balst in the series took place, said he saw sparks emanating from a polythene bag kept in the carrier of a ranger-type cycle and heard a loud noise. “I instantly shouted to people to move away,” Patole said. “I then informed the police control room.”
German Bakery blast
In February 2010, 17 people were killed and at least 60 injured when a bomb went off at the crowded German Bakery in Pune. An Italian woman, two Sudanese students, and an Iranian student were among those killed. The German Bakery is located close to the Jewish Chabad House in Koregaon Park. The involvement of Indian Mujahideen, the Indian arm of the Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT, was suspected in the incident.
(With inputs from Sukirt D. Gumaste, Anup Satfale and Priyankka Deshpande)