Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets a blast victim at Omni hospital in Hyderabad on Sunday. Picture by G Vijayalakshmi
Hyderabad, Feb. 24: A trader acquitted in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast has been detained for questioning for Thursday’s bombings in Hyderabad that killed 17, police sources said today.
Mohammed Riyazuddin, in his late forties, was picked up from an apartment in the old city this afternoon on the basis of CCTV footage that revealed he was at the site of the first blast near Konark theatre a few minutes before the cycle bombs went off.
The police sources claimed to have zeroed in on another potential suspect, a person who had stayed at a lodge not far from the site of the twin blasts in Dilsukhnagar until days before the attack.
Riyazuddin’s detention came on a day one of the 117 injured died in hospital, raising the toll by one to 17. Six of the injured are battling for life, doctors said. A BTech student, Vijay Prasad, is among them.
The government has issued directions to private nursing homes to shift patients to state-run super speciality hospitals for free care.
Photos of suspects were released on Friday. The pictures included those of Tabrez and Waqas, who the police claimed had conducted a recce in November in Dilsukhnagar and two other areas near the commercial and education hub.
The agencies have identified Fayyaz Kaji, an Indian Mujahideen top gun, as the chief suspect. The Bhatkal brothers — Yasin, Riyaz and Iqbal — involved in the Malegaon, Pune and Delhi (2011) blasts operate under Kaji, the police sources said.
Yasin has dodged the police twice in the past, the sources said. The first was in 2009 in Calcutta where he was detained in a fake currency case and let off before being properly identified. The second was in Chennai in 2011 when he fled while being escorted to court.
The Kiran Reddy-led Congress government, under fire over the bombings, today sought a clarification from the Hyderabad police commissioner why a central alert sent on the morning of February 21, hours before the blasts, was not circulated among the force.
“We did not get any specific alert on February 21,” city police chief Anurag Sharma had said on Friday.
Police sources claimed their bosses had taken the alerts “casually” and were pre-occupied with preparations to foil a road blockade lined up by Telangana protesters for today.
Nearly 15,000 policemen — almost half of the city police’s strength — had been deployed to thwart the “Sadak Bandh” programme that the organisers claimed would involve over four lakh protesters squatting on stretches of the highway to Bangalore. The plan was eventually called off after the blasts.
BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy said he had received a postcard carrying a message from the Lashkar-e-Toiba warning of an attack in the busy Begum Bazar wholesale market, 3km from the Charminar, and claiming responsibility for the Dilsukhnagar blasts.
The message, in Urdu and English, was posted from the GPO yesterday, Reddy said. He had passed it on to police the same day, he said.
The police spokesperson refused to comment on the letter, but sources said it was fake.