Pune/New Delhi, (IANS) On the day Sushilkumar Shinde assumed office as the union home minister, four low-intensity explosions hit Pune city in his home state Maharashtra, injuring one person.
“According to the details I have got, four blasts took place between 7.27 p.m. and 8.15 p.m. Wednesday evening on Junglee Maharaj Road,” Shinde, who was to have attended a function at an auditorium on the same road but had cancelled his visit, told reporters in New Delhi.
“One person has suffered a minor injury and is being treated at Sasoon Hospital in Pune,” he added.
Also in New Delhi, Home Secretary R.K. Singh said the injured person was being treated as a suspect and the terror angle was not being ruled out.
“The intensity (of the blasts) was not much,” Shinde said.
When asked if it was a terrorist attack, Shinde declined comment, stating that the matter is under inquiry. “At this point I cannot say more,” he said.
He said a National Investigation Agency team had already left for Pune and a post-blast team of the NSG is also being sent.
“The blasts appear to be well-coordinated,” Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol told media persons.
One of the blasts took place at the Bal Gangadhar Chowk near the Rangsharda auditorium on the busy Junglee Maharaj Road and another in a dustbin outside a McDonalds outlet nearby.
A third explosion occurred near the Dena Bank in the same area, triggering panic among people during the evening peak hour.
A fourth explosion went off on a bicycle at Garware Chowk on the same road.
According to police officers at the blast site, two more bombs were timed to go off around the same time. However, they were detected by the dog squad. One of the bombs went off in a controlled environment while the other was defused on the spot.
The very fact that four explosions had occurred almost within a range of a kilometre in a short span, showed that there was some planning, the home secretary said.
“As of now, we are treating him (the injured person) as a suspect. He was carrying a packet. He is being interrogated,” R.K. Singh told reporters.
Pune advocate Bipin Patole, an eye witness was in his office in the area when he heard one of the blasts.
“The sound was so loud that it seemed to be a huge blast. Though the intensity was low, the sound was very high,” Patole told media persons.