15 suspects held for role in blasts, plot to attack Mumbai

15 suspects held for role in blasts, plot to attack Mumbai

Bangalore: The Mumbai Police on Monday announced the arrest of 15 men suspected of being involved in bombings in the southern and western parts of the country and said they were planning attacks in the financial hub of Mumbai.

The police recovered 10kg of explosives, 35 timers, 15 detonators and two revolvers from the suspects, Hasan Gafoor, police commissioner in the western city, said at a televised news conference. He didn’t say where or when the arrests took place.

The suspects belong to the Indian Mujahideen (IM), Gafoor said. The group, which took responsibility for recent acts of terrorism in Gujarat and Rajasthan, said it carried out attacks on 13 September in New Delhi, according to an emailed statement.

The five blasts in New Delhi killed at least 21 people. The men are also suspected of being behind the detonation of 16 bombs that killed at least 50 people in Ahmedabad on 26 July.

Days after the Ahmedabad blasts, at least 20 devices hidden in cars and garbage cans were discovered and defused in Surat, Gujarat.

The suspects include men who planted the bombs in Surat and four people from the “media wing" of the IM, Gafoor said.

The men also were behind a 25 July attack in Bangalore in which two people were killed.

Five men alleged to be members of the IM were arrested on 24 September in Mumbai on suspicion of being behind the Ahmedabad bombings.

The group has said the attacks are to avenge the violence in Gujarat between Hindus and Muslims in 2002, in which around 2,000 people were killed.

With these arrests, the total number of people held by the Mumbai Police in connection with the blasts went up to 20.

However, the police are yet to arrest Riyaz Bhatkal alias Roshan Khan, the main accused and the founder-member of the IM, which is suspected to be behind the blasts in different cities in recent months.

On Sunday, Union home minister Shivraj Patil reviewed the security arrangements in Maharashtra, which witnessed communal clashes and a terror attack recently.

Patil met Maharashtra governor S.C. Jamir and chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh separately during his visit to Mumbai and took stock of the security scenario.

The minister also discussed the progresses made in the investigations into the Malegaon blast on 29 September in which six persons were killed.

PTI contributed to this story.