Three teams formed to probe bomb scare at Mangaluru airport
Mangaluru, Jan 22: In a breakthrough in the Mangaluru airport bomb case, the auto-rickshaw driver who carried the suspect with the improved explosive device (IED) to the airport voluntarily came to the police station and recorded a statement here on Tuesday.
Just hours after the city police released photos of the suspect and also of the three-wheeler used by him for the travel, the auto driver told the police that the suspect, a middle-aged man, had come by a private bus with two bags in his hand. “After alighting at Kenjar, he kept a bag inside the salon nearby. The salon owner asked the bag to be placed outside. Therefore, he kept the bag outside and traveled to the airport in my auto-rickshaw,” he said.
The suspect asked the auto driver to wait and he went straight to the ticket counter of the airport at around 8.50 am and placed the bag there. “He was speaking in Tulu. After reaching Kenjar, he picked up the bag he had left at the salon. During the travel, he did not show any signs of panic or anxiety. He was talking freely. After reaching Pumpwell, he got down after paying the fare of Rs 400,” the driver said.
On the basis of this statement, the police, who have formed three teams, are trying to find out the route taken by the suspect.
Meanwhile, there is panic over the second bag that the suspect had carried.
The IED was found in a laptop bag at the airport here on Monday. The security staff who noticed the bag had contacted the bomb disposals squad who carried the device to the Kenjar ground where it was defused.
On Tuesday, the National Security Guards (NSG) team arrived here and conducted a detailed inquiry.
The team examined the areas in and around the airport and also the spot where the bomb was found.
Later, the NSG team visited Kenjar where the bomb was detonated. They examined the area of detonation and calculated the strength of the bomb.
In the evening, police commissioner Dr. P S Harsha said the investigating team has made progress in the case.
“In the investigation, we have questioned several people and searched suspected places. We are taking measures to apprehend the accused. The questioning of an auto driver is in progress. We are trying to find if there is any link between the incident and the IndiGo bomb threat call received by the terminal manager.
“We are also investigating threat calls received at various airports and collecting information. The public has sent various photos and videos which are identical to the suspect which the investigating team is looking into. Airport operations are normal today,” he said.
Meanwhile, the bomb incident took a political twist with former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy doubting the entire case calling it a ‘mock show’.
Kumaraswamy asked the state government not to spin a bomb scare at Mangaluru airport for its advantage.
The Karnataka BJP came down heavily on H D Kumaraswamy for his comments.
“He doubted surgical strikes. He released doctored CDs to show that Peaceful Protesters didn’t indulge in violence. Now he is blaming Police for the live bomb diffused in Mangaluru. Is there no end to Appeasement Politics by former CM @hd_kumaraswamy? Why to cry for Jihadis?” hit back BJP with a tweet from its official handle.