| Anami Roy at the news conference. (Fotocorp)
Mumbai, Sept. 30: If Dawood Ibrahim’s men had used specially made cavities in cars and scooters to build RDX-laden bombs, the train bombers modified a common kitchen appliance to carry out their July 11 strike.
City police chief Anami Roy said the terrorists bought eight pressure-cookers from two local shops and packed them with a mix of RDX, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.
The bombers put the pressure-cookers in bags, hiding them under umbrellas and newspapers, and used them to trigger the seven blasts. The eighth pressure-cooker remains untraced.
Roy gave his version of how the operation was carried out by 11 Lashkar-e-Toiba militants from Pakistan and seven Students’ Islamic Movement of India activists:
Two of the Pakistanis sneaked in from Nepal on May 25, guided by Lashkar operative Kamaluddin Ansari, resident of Madhubani in Bihar, close to the border. The second group of five, guided by Calcutta-based Abdul Majid, entered from Bangladesh and the third group of four slipped in across the Gujarat border.
Lashkar operative Faisal Sheikh hid them in four houses in Malad, Borivli, Bandra and Mumbra. The bombs were assembled at the home of Mohammed Ali in the northeastern Shivaji Nagar slums on July 8, 9 and 10.
“Five cookers were bought from one shop and three from another. They were of Kanchan brand and of five-litre capacity. Around 2 to 2.5 kg of RDX and 4 to 4.5 kg of ammonium nitrate was packed into each and quartz timers used as trigger,’’ Roy said.
The bombs were taken to Faisal’s Bandra home and then to Churchgate terminus in a taxi. The operatives split into two-member teams: one Pakistani and one Indian.
At Churchgate, they walked into first-class compartments, placed the bombs in the overhead luggage racks.
“All except one alighted before the bombs exploded. We have identified him as Salim, a Lahore resident, through DNA reconstruction,” the police commissioner said.
Roy said all seven Indians had been identified and four arrested. “Faisal planted the bomb that exploded at Jogeshwari; Ansari planted the one that exploded at Matunga.”
Siddiqui’s bomb exploded at Mira Road and Naved Khan’s at Khar. Of the 15 arrested, the police claim to have established the direct involvement of 12.
The police commissioner said the first clues had come from an analysis of phone calls in and out of Mumbai. It showed that Mumtaz Chaudhari, a cleric from Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai, had called Ansari several times in Madhubani before and after the explosions. “The Intelligence Bureau helped us track Ansari down.”
Roy said the terror operation was executed brilliantly. “Usually, vital clues like unexploded devices are found at blast sites. But we found no clues at the explosion sites. It was nearly a blinder.’’
Deputy chief minister R.R. Patil promised that fast-track courts would be set up for the case to finish the trial in two years.