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Suspects got off train 15 minutes before blasts

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 20, 2007 13:29 IST
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The Haryana police on Tuesday released the sketches of two persons suspected to be behind the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express train blasts that left 68 people dead.

The duo boarded the train from Old Delhi Railway station on Sunday night and had alighted from it about 15 minutes before the explosions when the train had slowed down near the Deewana station, Inspector-General Rohtak Range Sharad Kumar said.

He said the sketches have been prepared on the basis of descriptions provided by passengers.

"The two suspects had a heated argument with the personnel of Railway Protection Force for about 20 minutes in the train and they alighted from it when it slowed down near Deewana station," Kumar said.

Kumar said the police had got some vital clues but declined to give the details, saying it will hamper the investigation.

He also displayed explosives recovered from the train, including 14 kerosene-filled plastic bottles, and sought the public help to know if anybody had seen, sold or manufactured them. He also showed a digital timer used to trigger the blasts.

A piece of cloth was put inside these bottles to prolong the fire, he said, adding that the nature of the chemicals is yet to be ascertained.

A reward of Rs 1 lakh was also announced for those providing vital clues about the suspects, he said.

Kumar said 619 passengers, including the two suspects, had boarded the train in Delhi, while 105 others had to take the train from Amritsar.

"Railway officials issued to tickets to some people without passports," he said.

"The two railway officials who issued the tickets have been suspended and two of our teams are interrogating them in Delhi," the IGP said.

Describing the suspects, he said, "The first person was wheatish in complexion and had a moustache. He wore a jacket and was around 35 to 36 years old.

"The second suspect was around 26-27 years old and was wearing a muffler. He was also of wheatish complexion," Kumar said, adding that both of them spoke Hindi.

Rohtak Range Commissioner N C Wadhwa said 14 bodies were so far identified, including ten Pakistanis and four Indians.

He said the bodies were handed over to the relatives. The administration will make necessary arrangements like lodging for relatives who are coming to identify the dead.

"Today or tomorrow, we are expecting relatives from Pakistan. We are calling for blood relations so that if the bodies cannot be recognised we can test the blood samples," Wadhwa said.

"If the bodies cannot be recognised in 4-5 days, then we have spoken to the local Imam so that their last rites can be arranged at a spot near Panipat," he said.

A Pakistan national identified as Usman Mohammed, a resident of Karachi, was helping the investigators, Kumar said.

"We have not detained him. He was in the compartment from where IEDs were recovered after the blasts," he said.

He said no arrests or detentions have been made till now even as the police interrogated nearly 30 to 35 people in this connection.

Thirteen people were identified travelling without passports at the Attari railway station, he said, adding that they were allowed to go after their details were verified.

He said these passengers claimed that they had lost their passports in the melee.

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