New Delhi: IEDs found in a Seemapuri house on Thursday and at the Ghazipur market last month were prepared with the intention of carrying out blasts at public places across the city, according to Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
Such activities are not possible without local support, the Delhi Police chief said on Friday.
A day after the bag containing the IED was found in northeast Delhi’s Old Seemapuri area, police have stepped up security and deployed additional personnel there, officials said.
The improvised explosive device (IED), weighing 2.5 to 3 kg, was later diffused while the owner of the house and a property dealer are being interrogated, police said.
“According to the probe, these IEDs were prepared with an intention to carry out blasts at public places. Such activities are not possible without local support,” Asthana said.
The Special Cell and other teams are investigating the case, he said, adding that they are probing forward and backward linkages.
“We are trying to pre-empt every such incident in Delhi and expose any local and foreign network,” he said but refused to divulge any other detail.
NIA and UP ATS teams visit Old Seemapuri
Officials from the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) visited the scene of crime on Friday as part of their probe as multiple agencies are working on the case, police said.
Photography and videography of the spot was carried out by the investigating agencies, a senior officer said.
Technical Surveillance and intelligence inputs are being used to trace the hideouts of the suspects who are absconding, the officer added.
400 people vacated from nearby buildings
Meanwhile, an official from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini said no suspicious substance or item was found from the spot besides the bag with the IED. It was a highly explosive device.
“It is a sensitive case concerning national security. Our teams are working on analysing the nature and components of the explosive. A report regarding it will be submitted to the concerned authority soon,” the official added.
According to another senior Delhi Police officer, around 400 people were vacated from nearby buildings after the “suspicious” bag was found.
“We have stepped up the security in the area. We have put up barricades and sealed the house. The crime scene has been preserved,? the officer said.
“The local police had also conducted the verification of tenants in the area as part of security measures ahead of the Republic Day. A local enquiry has also been conducted by the local police,” the officer added.
CCTV footage retrieved
A Special Cell team has also retrieved the footage of all CCTV cameras installed in and around the building where the suspicious bag was found.
The footage of the cameras is being analysed, the officer said.
Meanwhile, the mother of house owner Aashim has alleged that police have taken his son in custody, while his wife claimed that the floor where the explosive was found was given to two people on rent few months ago.
During interrogation, the house owner told police that he had in his possession some documents of the tenants which he had taken for verification at the time of giving the floor on rent.
However, the documents have not been recovered yet by the Special Cell unit probing the case, the officer said.
NSG sources had said the explosive is suspected to be a mix of ammonium nitrate and RDX but a forensic lab will examine it in detail.
Connection between explosive recovered from Seemapuri and Ghazipur
As the explosive is quite similar to the one recovered from Ghazipur last month, police suspect that the two cases may be linked to the same people.
According to an official, investigation into the Ghazipur flower market case led the police to receive a tip-off about the explosive in Old Seemapuri.
No sooner the information was received in the afternoon, Special Cell teams dashed to the site. NSG officials and the Forensic Science Laboratory team were also rushed to the spot.
The officer said, “When our team went to the house, it was vacant. The bag was found there and we immediately informed the NSG.”
“The suspects have managed to escape. We suspect the explosive recovered from Old Seempuri has been made by the same persons who placed the IED at Ghazipur flower market last month,” the officer said.
The IED was picked up by the NSG bomb disposal squad from the second floor of the building. Security has been beefed up and the area cordoned off.
The IED was destroyed using a water disruptor, an NSG officer said, adding all pieces of evidence have been handed over to the Delhi Police.
An IED stuffed with RDX and ammonium nitrate was found inside an unattended bag at the Ghazipur flower market here on January 17 but was defused.
The incident had happened ahead of Republic Day celebrations on January 26 for which the security apparatus in the national capital was already on a high alert.