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Karnataka cops get leads on men behind stadium blasts
Bangalore, Apr 18 (IANS)
Published on 18 Apr. 2010 11:41 PM IST
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Karnataka police Sunday claimed to have got leads on men behind the two crude bombs found Sunday and the twin blasts Saturday near the Chinnaswamy stadium here before the start of an Indian Premier League (IPL) match.
“We got some leads behind the two crude bombs that were found and defused on Sunday and the twin blasts on Saturday near the cricket stadium,” Additional Police Commissioner M.R. Pujar told IANS.
The police have set up five investigation teams to nab the culprits behind the incidents. The bomb squad discovered two crude bombs wrapped in plastic covers - one behind a bus stand near the VIP gate Number 1 and the other tucked behind a billboard pole near gate Number 9 of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium where T20 matches of the IPL-III are being held since March 16. Nine league matches were held till Saturday.
“We hope to arrest the unidentified suspects soon, as investigations into the twin blasts and bombs planted at the stadium have given us enough clues on who could be behind them,” Pujar said.
The explosives were detected in course of search operations launched late Saturday with the bomb squad, sniffer dogs and anti-sabotage teams that were pressed in to sanitise the entire area.
“Besides deploying additional forces in and around the stadium, we are checking every nook and corner of the venue to detect if any suspicious objects or explosive materials are hidden,” Pujar pointed out.
About 500 billboards and advertising flex-o-boards have been erected in and around the stadium in connection with the IPL.
“Many of the advertising billboards will be pulled down to prevent placing suspicious objects or harmful materials,” Pujar noted.
About 10 people - one security officer, six policemen and three cricket fans - were injured in the twin blasts Saturday nearly an hour before the league match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians.
“It is premature to disclose the leads as investigations are at an advanced stage.
How can we disclose who are behind the incidents unless we first arrest suspects?” Pujar retorted when asked about the identity of the culprits.
In a related development, top officials of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), which stages the matches at the sprawling stadium in the heart of the city, met Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari to discuss the security arrangements for the matches. “We have sought adequate security and extra vigil in and around the stadium to ensure no untoward incident takes place during the crucial semi-final matches next Wednesday and Thursday,” KSCA secretary and former Indian batsman Brijesh Patel told reporters. The two semi-finals werer later in the day shifted from Bangalore to Navi Mumbai by the IPL officials as the blasts and bombs near the Bangalore stadium caused serious concern to the organisers, teams and the police alike.
Though the twin blasts caused panic in the city and sent the police into a tizzy, the detection of two crude bombs Sunday raised fears about the safety and security at the stadium during the semi finals.
2 crude bombs found
Two crude bombs were found close to the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here Sunday, a day after two low intensity blasts there left 16 people injured. One bomb was found near a bus stop close to Gate No 1, the main gate of the stadium, at around 9 a.m. and the other was hidden in a metal pole supporting an advertisement billboard outside the stadium, Bangalore city police commissioner Shankar Bidari told reporters. Both the devices have been defused, he said.
Bidari said his men will now search the nearly 1,000 billboards around the stadium for any explosives.
“As a precautionary measure we will search all the billboards and also remove them.
There are around 1,000 billboards in the area,” Bidari said.
He said no timer device was found with the two bombs discovered Sunday.
“We will complete checking all the billboards today,” Bidari said.
Huge billboards surround the 40,000-capacity stadium in view of the crowds gathering there for the IPL matches.
The stadium is located in the centre of the city and has the popular shopping area M.G. Road on one side and Cubbon Road on the other.
Its main gate, near which a bomb was found Sunday morning, faces Cubbon Park which attracts hundreds of people every day, apart from the regular morning/evening walkers, making it a strategic location to advertise.
The two blasts Saturday evening had delayed the start of the Royal Challengers Bangalore-Mumbai Indian tie by an hour.
The police are sanitising the stadium area as both the semi-finals of the IPL are to be played there April 21 and 22.
One of the blasts Saturday took place at Gate No 12, in which 16 people, including four policemen, received minor injuries while a security volunteer suffered head injuries. He is being treated at Mallya Hospital, about two km away, from the stadium.
The second blast was at Anil Kumble circle, less than half a kilometre from the stadium. None was injured.
An explosive was found later in the stadium even as the IPL match was on and defused. Timer devices were attached to the three bombs.

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