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Agencies ||Mumbai, August 01, 2012, Updated on August 04, 2012 || Four coordinated low-intensity explosions struck the busy arterial JM road in the heart of Pune today on a day new home minister Sushilkumar Shinde was scheduled visit the city. Shinde confirmed that four low intensity blasts hit Pune injuring one person. He also said that he was scheduled to attend a function at Tilak theatre at 6pm but cancelled his trip.
He parried questions in Delhi on whether it was a terror attack, saying they were minor explosions and a probe was on into the blast that occurred between 7.27pm and 8.15pm.
“At this moment I cannot say anything, matter is under investigation,” Shinde told reporters.
He said that a NIA team from Delhi has boarded a flight to Pune.
The new home minister said that the person who was slightly injured in the blast has been admitted to Sasoon hospital and that his statement will be recorded.
The blasts came as Shinde officially took up his duties after being given the key portfolio the previous day.
Ironically, his last two days in the power ministry was marked by a major power outage due to collapse of three grids.
Pune police commissioner Gulab Rao Pol described the explosions as an act of mischief but Union home secretary RK Singh said terror angle cannot be ruled out since it seems to be a planned attack.
A man allegedly carrying one of the bombs was injured in the explosions and has been taken into custody and is being interrogated, Singh said. He has been admitted to Sasoon hospital.
Pol said the explosives carried by the injured man was kept in a cake box with sticky material, two detonators and a pencil cell.
One detonator went off in the explosion while the second was defused by a bomb disposal squad team.
The explosions occurred at JM road at spots near Balgandharva Theatre, Dena Bank branch, a McDonald food outlet and Garware bridge. The first explosion went off at Balgandharva Theatre where the suspected bomber was injured.
The explosion outside McDonald went off in a dustbin while the blasts near Garware bridge and Dena bank were reported from a cycle which had a bucket with explosives strapped on, police said.
The entire JM Road area has been cordoned off.
Pol said explosives at one of the sites was kept in a polythene bag.
Maharashtra ATS and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads were at the spot, police said.
Asked if it was a terror attack, Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal told PTI, “It is not appropriate to comment at this moment. Police teams have reached the spot and are looking into the matter.”
Maharashtra additional DG (Law and Order) Satyapal Singh said, “the first explosion near Balgandharva Theatre occurred at 19.27 hours and the rest followed afterwards though the exact timings are not yet clear, while one cyclist was injured”.
Singh said he had no information about any fifth explosive device being found and defused.
Pol said, “All are minor explosions. The public need not panic. Police are alert and they are doing their job.”
Pune was rocked by a bomb blast at German Bakery in February 2010 in which 15 people were killed.
Related readings: Pune blasts: Forensic report likely today. :IBN Live.
Pune blast impact: ID proof now required buy bicycles. :Indian Express.
Pune blast probe hits defunct CCTV hurdle. :The Statesman.
Indian Mujahideen signature in Pune blasts. :Hindustan Times.