Indian police prepare sketch of suspect in Mumbai blasts

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Dehli - Indian police have prepared a sketch of one suspect in Wednesday's triple bombings in Mumbai, while the involvement of underworld criminals in the attack has not been ruled out, local media reported on Sunday.

Investigators have zeroed in on two suspects, local daily Hindustan Times quoted Rakesh Maria, additional director general of Mumbai Police and chief of anti-terrorist squad (ATS), as saying on Saturday.

"Investigations done so far and visits to the sites by forensic experts and investigators suggest that there was no suicide bomber and based on eyewitness accounts, we may be able to get a sketch of one of the suspects by tonight (Saturday night)," said the police officer.

He said although police had another suspect's photograph obtained from the closed circuit TV footage, they needed to work more on the photograph as the footage was grainy, according to the report.

Forensic experts have concluded that the explosive was packed in a metallic container with a digital timer.

Police said that the role or involvement of the underworld in the explosions, which left 19 dead and over 100 injured on Wednesday evening, was being examined, according to Indo-Asian News Service.

Investigators have spanned across the country, with teams cooperating with agencies in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi to investigate the possible role of the militant group, the Indian Mudjahideen, in the blasts.

The Maharashtra ATS is likely to question alleged Indian Mujahideen members jailed in Karnataka and Gujarat jails in connection with Wednesday's serial blasts in the city, according to the daily Indian Express.

A man involved in the blasts has reportedly died of police torture during interrogation.

Faiz Usmani died following a brain haemorrhage early on Sunday.

The report quoted a medical officer as saying that Faiz Usmani was picked up as a suspect in the triple blasts, but late Saturday evening, he suddenly took ill and was rushed to Sion Hospital in Mumbai.

The officer said when Faiz was brought to hospital, his blood pressure was in excess of 220 points and there was a large amount of blood in his brain.

Faiz was the brother of Afzal Usmani, one of the prime accused in blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat in 2008, and both were suspected members of the Indian Mujahiddeen.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has extended condolences to the Government and people of India.

"The Government of South Africa condemns in the strongest terms these atrocious acts which cannot have any justification at all in an open and democratic society," said the SA International Relations Department.