MUMBAI, Jul 16 – Indian detectives “have good leads” on the three blasts which rocked the country’s financial hub Mumbai, a top official said on Saturday, as the death toll from the coordinated explosions rose to 19.
Two men who were seriously injured in Wednesday’s rush-hour bombings died in hospital, a home ministry statement said.
Twenty people remained in a serious condition in hospital as a result of the blasts in which a total of over 130 were hurt, the ministry said.
The rise in the death toll came as Mumbai residents held candle-lit vigils to mourn the victims of the blasts, the deadliest attacks in the city since the 2008 siege by Islamist militants in which 166 people died.
There have been no claims of responsibility for the latest attacks in Mumbai, located in the western state of Maharashtra, but police say their investigation is making headway.
“I can very confidently say that we have got good leads,” Rakesh Maria, head of the Maharashtra state anti-terrorism squad, said at a news conference in the city.
“We have a reasonable assumption as to what happened at the three locations.”
Investigators have been scrambling for a breakthrough in the case, amid fears torrential downpours that have hit Mumbai since the explosions may have washed away vital clues.
Police have been questioning two suspected members of the Indian Mujahideen, a domestic Islamist group with links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant outfit blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters in New Delhi that “people are being questioned based on our previous databases and previous known linkages” to help find those responsible for the blasts.
Teams of detectives were also scouring hours of grainy security camera footage taken from the bomb sites in south and south central Mumbai to try to assemble a full picture of what happened.
“We are taking the help of technical experts to improve the quality of the (grainy) image and I think in 24 to 48 hours we should able to get a better image,” Maharashtra state’s anti-terrorism squad chief told reporters.
He said that authorities also expected to produce a sketch of a suspect soon.
Police examination of debris has already indicated that the bombs, hidden in the crowded streets, used ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser ingredient commonly used in improvised explosive devices.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Kolkata that militants were mistaken if they thought that they would be able to destabilise India through “terrorist acts”.
“If the terrorists feel that they will be able to destabilise India, then they are utterly mistaken and we will be able to overcome the challenge,” he told reporters, according to the Press Trust of India.
“Incidents of such a nature will only strengthen our resolve to fight terrorism,” he said.