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Mumbai

Another vessel runs aground at Juhu beach in Mumbai

In a repeat of the MV Wisdom episode, another vessel ran aground near the Juhu beach in north-west Mumbai today.

The Panama-flagged merchant tanker, MT Pavit, with a capacity to hold 1,000 tonnes of oil, run aground in Seven Bungalows early this morning and was suspected to have drifted in from the Arabian Gulf, officials said here.

The Indian Coast Guard MRCC, Mumbai received a message from MRCC Falmouth on June 29 regarding drifting of MT Pavit at 110 nautical miles off Ras al-Madrakah coast in Oman due to engine failure and ingress of water in engine room.

Subsequently, India-flagged MT Jag Pushpa was diverted by United Kingdom MRCC to render assistance, which rescued all 13 crew members and brought them to Sikka in Gujarat.

At around 1200 hrs, the Coast Guard Region Headquarters (West) was informed by Juhu police regarding grounding of MT Pavit off Versova beach opposite Ruia park / Chandan cinema, a Defence release said here.

Following this, Coast Guard ship Amrit Kaur and a helicopter were deployed to the spot for preliminary assessment. The vessel was assessed to have been grounded at Juhu beach without any apparent damage. The vessel has double bottom and has 10 mt fuel oil and 10 mt gas oil.

The company was in the process of engaging salvor for removal of the vessel from beach, it added.

MV Wisdom had got stuck on Juhu beach in June and was salvaged early this month.

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Adarsh Housing Scam: CBI records Shinde's statement

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recorded the statement of Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in connection with the Adarsh Housing Society scam, CBI sources said today.

"A CBI team from Mumbai recorded the statement of Mr Shinde, as a witness in the case at his residence here," the sources said.

During Mr Shinde's tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister between January 2003 and November 2004, the Adarsh Housing Society allegedly got the largest number of clearances.

Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had to resign from his post due to the scam.

In January this year, the CBI registered a case against 14 people in the scam. So far, the agency has questioned several accused, including former Mumbai corporation commissioner Jairaj Phatak, Congress leader K L Gidwani, suspended state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, former deputy secretary of state urban development department P V Deshmukh and Adarsh Society secretary R C Thakur.

According to the allegations, the Adarsh society building was meant to be a six-storey building for Kargil war heroes, but it went on to become a 31-storeyed high-rise, allegedly without permission.

Several relatives of politicians, bureaucrats and former army officials were allotted flats in the society.

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Govt-run hospitals to issue ID cards to injured in Mumbai blasts

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The injured in the July 13 bomb blasts in the city, currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals with metal pieces in their bodies, would be given special identity cards by the government hospitals if the splinters are not removed, official sources said today.

The sources said that this would be issued with the aim of helping these injured persons avoid security hassles at airports, malls and other places having metal detectors at entrances.

One of the injured victims in the serial bomb blasts, who was discharged from a government-run hospital with a splinter in his body, has been issued a photo identity card, confirmed Dr T  P Lahane, dean of J J Hospital.

Some more patients, currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals with metal pieces in their bodies, would also be given such IDs by the government hospitals if the splinters are not removed, he said.

"Rajaram Mane (30), who was discharged after treatment in our hospital, was given this government authorised card for security reasons. He can show the ID to persons concerned after the metal detectors at the places he visits suggest presence of any metal with him. The card mentions that he is the victim of the bomb blasts and a metal piece is lodged in his body," said Dr Lahane.

Mane was admitted to the hospital after he sustained severe injuries in the Zaveri Bazaar blast.

At airports, malls and any other places with metal detectors at the entrance, he could show this government authorised card, the doctor said.

Six more discharged patients had also been given photo ID cards for medical purpose and not for security reasons, Dr Lahane said.

"These second type of IDs will give us an idea as to on which part(s) of the body the patient sustained injuries and what treatment he had been given. It would help us to know medical status of the patients," he added.

Twenty-six people have so far lost their lives and over 120 injured in the three blasts at Dadar, Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House on July 13.

The injured, some of them in critical condition, are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, including KEM, Nair and G T Hospital, in the city.

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Toll in Mumbai blasts mounts to 26

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The death toll in the July 13 serial blasts in the metropolis today mounted to 26 after a 42-year-old man succumbed to injuries at the Harkishandas hospital at Girgaum in South Mumbai.

Chandrakant Shankar was a victim of the high-intensity blast in the Opera House area that evening.

Two others blasts had taken place within the space of a few minutes at Dadar and Zaveri Bazaar.

Shankar had sustained severe burn injuries. He died at 0620 hrs today, hospital sources told UNI.

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North-bound trains from Mumbai cancelled, diverted due to heavy rains

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The Central Railway has cancelled 24 long-distance trains towards the North and North-east regions after a pier of a railway bridge across Manojoba river was damaged on the Bhusaval-Khandwa section, affecting traffic, due to heavy rains and floods.

Several trains from Mumbai, Goa, Karnataka and Gujarat were affected and nearly 40 trains were diverted, while several trains were running late by about four hours, Central Railway sources said.

The sources said one of the three piers of a 27-metre long bridge eroded on Thursday night. Emergency repair work was on and it would be completed by tomorrow.

Mail and Express trains, originating from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Mumbai, and Lokmanya Tilak terminus, proceeding to north and north-east destinations have been diverted via alternative routes, the sources added.

Meanwhile, suburban trains on the main and harbour line were running late by 15 minutes due to heavy rains since last night.

Services on Western railway were running late by five to ten minutes, a Railway spokesman said.

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Emirates flight makes emergency landing at Mumbai airport

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A Dubai-bound Emirates flight, with 202 people on board, landed under emergency conditions at the airport here today, soon after take-off, due to engine failure.

"Following a crisis call from the Mumbai-Dubai Emirates flight (EK507), the air traffic control declared a full landing emergency at the airport at 1558 hrs," a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said.

He said the aircraft with 202 passengers and crew safely returned to the airport at 1609 hrs.

The flight had to abort the scheduled trip and return to the airport soon after being airborne at 1535 hrs as one of its engines failed, he added.

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Woman falls to death from 8th floor of building in Mumbai

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A 52-year-old woman fell to her death from the 8th floor of a building at Chembur in north-east Mumbai, police said here today.

The deceased, Surekha Ravi Pradhan, was reportedly cleaning the window-panes of her house when she slipped and fell yesterday evening, police said.

The building's watchman heard a loud thud and found the woman lying in a pool of blood. She was rushed to a hospital but doctors declared her dead on arrival.

Surekha was alone at the time of the incident. Her husband is a businessman, while her only daughter is married and settled in Sweden, police said.

A case of accidental death has been registered, police added.

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Toll in Mumbai blasts rises to 24

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The death toll in tbe July 13 serial blasts in the city mounted to 24 with the death of one of the injured persons here today.

This was the first death in the Dadar blast, official sources said. The other two blasts had taken place at Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar, all within the space of a few minutes on July 13 evening.

Mankeshwar Vishwakarma succumbed to injuries at the KEM hospital early today, official sources said.

On Saturday evening, Ajay Verma, who used to run an eatery at Zaveri Bazaar, had succumbed to inuries at the J J Hospital.

Vishwakarma, 28, a carpenter, is survived by his wife and a one-and-a-half year-old daughter.

He was a resident of Sion-Koliwada, sources said.

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Toll in Mumbai blasts rises to 22

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The death toll in the July 13 serial blasts in Mumbai has risen to 22 with two more deaths reported from city hospitals since last night, official sources said.

Surendra Singh Bisht, who was injured in the blast at Zaveri Bazaar, died early today at the Government-run J J Hospital.

Thirty five-year-old Sripal Mujpura, a diamond merhcant, was injured in the blast in the Opera House area. He had suffered extensive head injuries and never came out of coma since then, doctors at the hospital said. He succumbed to his injuries last night.

A resident of Malad here, Mujpura, is survived by his wife and two children.

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Toll in Mumbai blasts rises to 21

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The death toll in the July 13 serial blasts in Mumbai has risen to 21 with a diamond merchant succumbing to his injuries at the Harkisondas hospital here last night.

Thirtyfive-year-old Sripal Mujpura was injured in the blast in the Opera House area. He had suffered extensive head injuries and never came out of coma since then, doctors at the hospital said.

A resident of Malad here, Mujpura, is survived by his wife and two children.

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26/11: Slain cop Salaskar's daughter appointed as Asstt. Commissioner of Sales Tax

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Ms Divya Salaskar, the daughter of police officer Vijay Salaskar, who was among those killed in the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, has been appointed as an Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax in Mumbai.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said here today in a statement that he had been informed of the appointment by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan this morning.

During the course of an interview that Mr Chidambaram had given to a television channel recently, Ms Salaskar had brought to his notice that her appointment to a suitable post in the Maharashtra Government was hanging fire for quite some time.

"I promised her that I would take up the matter with the Chief Minister, Maharashtra and would request him to persuade the Maharashtra Public Service Commission to expedite the case.

"This morning, I was informed by the Chief Minister, Maharashtra that the appointment of Ms Divya Salaskar as Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax, Mumbai has been approved," Mr Chidambaram added.

Vijay Salaskar, 50, was a senior police inspector and encounter specialist with the Mumbai police. At the time of his death, he was head of the Anti-Extortion Cell in Mumbai. He was killed while fighting terrorists in the 26/11 attacks, which left 166 people dead.

The Government posthumously honoured him with the Ashok Chakra, the nation's highest peacetime gallantry award, on January 26, 2009.

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Vice-President releases autobiography of Asghar Ali Engineer

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Vice-President M Hamid Ansari released the autobiography of noted social activist Asghar Ali Engineer, titled "A Living Faith - My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change", at a function here yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ansari said the contribution of Mr Engineer in building an inclusive society was praiseworthy and his rise as a leader of social and religious reform was exemplary.

Mr Engineer is currently Chairperson, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, and Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, here.

The book is an extensive account of Mr Engineer’s commitment to building an inclusive society and his interpretation of Islam as a modernist. Through the reminiscences of a life that has been lived for truth, the book depicts a journey – from violence to peace, from prejudice to acceptance, from politics of power and religion to the power of humanity.

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Mumbai blast toll rises to 20 as one more succumbs to injuries

The death toll in the July 13 blasts in the metropolis rose to 20 today after one of the injured persons succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.

The victim, Ashok Bhate, was undergoing treatment at the Government-run J J Hospital, official sourcs said.

He was injured in the blast at Zaveri Bazaar on that day. The other two blasts took place in the Dadar and Opera House areas.

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Maharashtra DGP orders CID inquiry into death of Faiz Usmani

Maharashtra Director General of Police Ajit Parasnis today ordered a CID inquiry into the death of Faiz Usmani, who was picked up by the investigating agency for questioning in connection with Wednesday's serial bomb blasts which left 19 people killed and more than 130 injured.

Mr Parasnis issued the order for CID inquiry into the death of Usmani, who died at around 0130 hrs today in civic-run Sion Hospital in north central Mumbai.

Faiz, who was elder brother of Afzal Usmani, co-accused in Ahmedabad blasts, was picked up from Mankhurd yesterday afternoon. He was admitted to Sion Hospital after he felt uneasiness during interrogation.

Hospital sources said it was a natural death. He died of brain haemorrhrage and there was no injury mark on his body. His blood pressure shot up and he got unconscious.

Meanwhile, police denied Usmani was tortured, saying he was just brought for questioning.

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No Ragging

Students of Lala Lajpat Rai College light candles to pay homage to the blast victims in Mumbai, on July 16, 2011. EPA/UNI PHOTO

Students of Lala Lajpat Rai College light candles to pay homage to the blast victims in Mumbai, on July 16, 2011. EPA/UNI PHOTO
Students of Lala Lajpat Rai College light candles to pay homage to the blast victims in Mumbai, on July 16, 2011. EPA/UNI PHOTO

Toll in Mumbai bomb blasts rises to 19

Twenty-three-year-old Avinash Temke who was seriously injured in one of the three bomb blasts that rocked Mumbai on Wednesday evening died today.

Temke was was injured in the blast at Zaveri Bazaar and was admitted in the intensive care unit of G T Hospital in south Mumbai.

With this, the death toll in the three blasts has risen to 19.

Apart from Zaveri Bazaar, the other blasts took place at Dadar and Opera House.

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3 judges appointed to Bombay High Court

The President has appointed Mr Justice Kamalkishor Kapoorchandji Tated, Mr Justice Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale, and Mr Justice Shahrukh Jimi Kathawalla, Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court, to be Judges of the Bombay High Court.

An official statement said here today that the appointments, in that order of seniority, would be with effect from the dates they assume charge of their offices.

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Bomb that exploded in Zaveri Bazaar was placed in scooter: Govt

The Centre on Friday confirmed that the bomb that exploded in Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar on Wednesday was placed in a scooter and said CCTV footage was being scrutinised, two days after three blasts in the financial hub of the country left 18 people killed and more than 130 injured.

Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO

The Centre today confirmed that the bomb that exploded in Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar on Wednesday was placed in a scooter and said 11 CDs of CCTV footage are being scrutinised, two days after three blasts in the financial hub of the country left 18 people killed and more than 130 injured.

Talking to reporters here, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said, "We have identified the scooter in which one of the bombs was planted. Suspicious people are being verified. The CCTV footage is being scrutinised. All the people who figure in it have to be recognised by local people. It is voluminous. There are about 11 CDs that have to be gone through."

Mr Singh said, "All the people need to identified. People who are not recognised have to be put through a data base to see whether they match other people. Various people are being questioned on the basis of previous known linkages."

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Investigators probing the Mumbai blasts are pinning their hopes on closed circuit television (CCTV) footages for clues.

According to reports, one camera in Opera House has captured the images of the possible suspects. The footage shows three or four people talking on the phone for over an hour and a half at the same spot.

Moreover, a person carrying a bag is reported to have been identified as a suspect. He is seen moving towards a parked motorcycle and within seconds there is an explosion.

As the Government has already confirmed that one of the bodies recovered from the Opera House site had an electric circuit embedded in it, reports speculate whether it was the same person with the bag "possibly carrying the bomb" which exploded prematurely, killing him as well.

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Importantly, the investigators have not rejected the possibility of the presence of a human bomb.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram yesterday said it was too early "to point a finger at any one group".

All groups "hostile to India" are on the "radar" in the probe, he said.

Eighteen people were killed and 131 injured in the three blasts which took place at Zaveri Bazaar, Dadar and Opera House.

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PM promises that Govt will act to prevent fresh terror attacks

A day after three bomb blasts killed at least 18 persons and injured 131 others in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flew into the city Thursday evening and assured the people that the Government would do everything in its power to prevent such terror attacks in the future.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the J J Hospital to meet the victims of bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are also seen.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the J J Hospital to meet the victims of bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are also seen.
A day after three bomb blasts killed at least 18 persons and injured 131 others in this metropolis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, flew into the city this evening and assured the people that the Government would do everything in its power to prevent such terror attacks in the future.

"I cannot find words to condemn the barbaric acts of terror that resulted in the senseless killing and injuring of innocent people in Mumbai yesterday. I understand the shock and outrage of the people of Mumbai. I share their pain, anguish and anger," Dr Singh said in a statement on his arrival in the country's financial capital.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holding a high level meeting on his arrival at the Mumbai airport, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are also seen.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holding a high level meeting on his arrival at the Mumbai airport, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are also seen.
"I have come here in solidarity with the people of Mumbai. I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to those who have suffered in this terrible tragedy. The need of the hour is to look after their medical and other immediate needs. I have asked the State Government to ensure that all support is provided so that these families can overcome the tragedy and rebuild their lives," he said.

Dr Singh said he had already announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakhs to the next of kin of those killed and Rs.1 lakh to those injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

"The Central Government and the State Government have acted quickly to deal with the situation. I have asked the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the Union Home Minister to continue to coordinate their efforts and resources to relentlessly pursue the perpetrators. They must be brought to justice quickly and be subject to the rule of law that they have sought to subvert. I seek the cooperation of all citizens in this effort. We owe this to the grieving families," he said.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the press after visiting the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also seen.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the press after visiting the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also seen.
"I assure the people that the government will do everything in its power to prevent such attacks in the future. In the final analysis, it is the unity and strength of the people that will defeat these efforts to divide our people and destroy our civilized way of life," he added.

Soon after their arrival, Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi visited Saifee Hospital in south Mumbai, where many of the victims of the blasts were undergoing treatment. They enquired about the well-being f the victims and their relatives. They also spoke to the doctors attending on them. Later, they were scheduled to visit the J J Hospital.

Earlier, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram flew into Mumbai in the early hours of today and visited the sites of the blasts and said later that he was confident that India would be able to stand up to such cowardly attacks on its unity, integrity and prosperity.

The blast site in the Opera House area of south Mumbai. EPA/UNI PHOTO
The blast site in the Opera House area of south Mumbai. EPA/UNI PHOTO
Mr Chidambaram also visited some of the injured at the Saifee Hospital and later held a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for an assessment of the situation. He was all praise for the resoluteness with which the people of Mumbai had faced the latest tragedy.

The Union Home Ministry had given out a figure of 21 dead and 141 injured late last night but revised the numbers later when more information became available. The Ministry said these numbers were subject to change on the basis of further verifications and confirmations.

Mr Chidambaram told a press conference that 17 deaths had been confirmed and that the severed head of a person had also been found. Of the 131 injured admitted to various hospitals in the city, as many as 26 were discharged yesterday itself. Of the remaining, 82 were said to be in a stable condition while 23 were stated to be seriously injured, some of them critically.

Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The three coordinated blasts in the country's financial capital took place at 1854 hours at Opera House, near the Diamond Market, at 1855 hours at Zaveri Bazaar and at 1906 hours at Kabuthar Khana in the Dadar area yesterday.

"The fact that they blasts took place within minutes of each other shows that it was a coordinated terror attack," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said preliminary investigations indicated that ammonium nitrate had been used in the explosives at all three places. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) also had timers and were not remotely-controlled, he said.

He said the blast at Dadar was a low-intensity one, while the explosions at Opera House and Jhaveri Bazaar were of medium to high intensity.

The Home Minister said that the Maharashtra Government had swung into action immediately after the blasts and had pushed into service as many as 21 ambulances and moved all the injured to hospital within about an hour after the incidents.

A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
He said two teams from the Central Forensic Science Laboratories in Delhi and Pune have reached Mumbai and visited all the blast sites and collected samples. A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) also reached the metropolis in the wee hours of today to join the investigations. A six-member post-blast investigation team of the National Security Guard reached here in the early hours of today, they said.

No one had claimed responsibility for the blasts so far, and Mr Chidambaram said that all terror groups hostile to India would be on the radar of the investigators. He said he would not point the finger at any particular group at this stage when investigations had only just begun. He said he had advised the Mumbai police to not to work on the case on the basis of any pre-determined notions. "All leads will be followed without any pre-determination," he said.

"Nothing is ruled out, nothing is ruled in," he said, in response to a question about the possible motive for the blasts.

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The Home Minister said that there was no intelligence input about yesterday's attacks and hastened to add that this did not mean there was any failure of the intelligence-gathering mechanism. He appealed to the media to not indulge in speculation about yesterday's blasts or the investigations in this regard. He also urged anyone with any leads or information about the blasts to contact the police control room, and promised them that their identities would be fully protected.

In response to another question, Mr Chidambaram said the blasts should not be seen as an attack on India's commercial capital. He said the sites had apparently been chosen because of the huge crowds that thronged these places.

He said no arrests had been made so far, but expressed confidence that the police would investigate the blasts and find the culprits responsible for them.

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Mr Chidambaram reminded people that India was located in one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in the world, with Pakistan and Afghanistan the epicentre of terrorism.
"We need to be eternally vigilant," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said the three blast sites had been cordoned off and barricaded and no one would be allowed to visit them.

He said that this was only the second major terror attack in India since the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, in which 166 people had been killed. In between, in February last year, there was a bomb blast at the well-known German Bakery eatery in Pune.

Mr Chidambaram said that, in these 31 months, the capacity of the police in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra, as also the rest of the country, to deal with terror threats had been considerably enhanced. He said the Mumbai and Maharashtra police had foiled and neutralised several threats in this period.

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President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi condemned the blasts and conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims, They also appealed to the people to maintain calm and unity.

Condemnation of the blasts also came in from abroad from such leaders as United States President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Meanwhile, a steady drizzle in the city today washed away bloodstains and threatened evidence of the three blasts, which ripped off storefronts, shredded a bus stop and left bodies strewn in two crowded neighbourhoods and a market.

Investigators covered the blast sites with plastic sheets to protect the evidence.

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The bomb in the Dadar area in central Mumbai was placed on a bus shelter, in the Opera House business district in southern Mumbai it was placed on the road and in the Jhaveri Bazaar jewellery market, it was on a motorcycle.

The bombs were made of ammonium nitrate and were not remotely triggered, investigators said. Police were gathering evidence about the triggering or timing mechanism that set off the bombs and what types of containers they were in, they said.

Surveillance cameras were in place at all three blast sites, but they did not reveal if any information was gleaned from them.

The blasts marked the first major attack on Mumbai since 10 militants laid siege to the city for 60 hours in November 2008. That attack targeted two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and the busy VT
station.

Investigations into the serial blasts were taken up last evening and they have continued throughout the night.

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The investigation is being conducted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Crime Branch, Mumbai Police, assisted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the post-blast investigation unit of the NSG and teams from the Central Forensic Science Laboratories (CFSL).

The Director General, NIA, is in Mumbai, overseeing the investigations. The IED at Opera House was planted below a loose slab and concealed under garbage. This blast was strong and resulted in 11 dead and 73 injured. In Zaveri Bazaar, 6 people died and 50 were injured. ATS chief Rakesh Maria today said the culprits would be brought to book soon. He said the investigators had obtained some closed circit television (CCTV) camera footages from the three spots and sent them for scientific tests.In Delhi, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the ammonium nitrate-based IEDs used in the blasts were "not crude" and said they were prepared with some level of sophistication.

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PM, Sonia Gandhi visit Mumbai to express solidarity with blast victims

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, flew into Mumbai to express solidarity with the people of the metropolis where three bomb blasts yesterday evening left at least 18 persons killed and 131 others injured.

He also assured the people that the Government would do everything in its power to prevent such attacks in the future.

"I cannot find words to condemn the barbaric acts of terror that resulted in the senseless killing and injuring of innocent people in Mumbai yesterday. I understand the shock and outrage of the people of Mumbai. I share their pain, anguish and anger," Dr Singh said.

"I have come here in solidarity with the people of Mumbai. I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to those who have suffered in this terrible tragedy. The need of the hour is to look after their medical and other immediate needs. I have asked the State Government to ensure that all support is provided so that these families can overcome the tragedy and rebuild their lives," he said.

Dr Singh said he had already announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakhs to the next of kin of those killed and Rs.1 lakh to those injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

"The Central Government and the State Government have acted quickly to deal with the situation. I have asked the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the Union Home Minister to continue to coordinate their efforts and resources to relentlessly pursue the perpetrators. They must be brought to justice quickly and be subject to the rule of law that they have sought to subvert. I seek the cooperation of all citizens in this effort. We owe this to the grieving families," he said.

"I assure the people that the government will do everything in its power to prevent such attacks in the future. In the final analysis, it is the unity and strength of the people that will defeat these efforts to divide our people and destroy our civilized way of life," he added.

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PM announces ex-gratia assistance for Mumbai blast victims

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced an ex-gratia assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the
next-of-kin of those killed in the three bomb blasts which rocked Mumbai yesterday evening.

An official statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the assistance for those seriously injured in the blasts was Rs 1 lakh each.

At least 18 people were killed and 131 others injured in the coordinated terror attacks in the country's financial capital.

Official sources said the Prime Minister would chair a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers at his 7, Race Course Road residence this evening.

The meeting will review the security situation in the country following the latest attacks in Mumbai.

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Chidambaram visits blast sites in Mumbai, says India will stand up to such cowardly attacks

Home Minister P Chidambaram flew into Mumbai in the early hours of Thursday and visited the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed at least 18 lives and injured more than 130 others on Wednesday evening and said later that he was confident India would be able to stand up to such cowardly attacks.

Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram flew into Mumbai in the early hours of today and visited the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed at least 18 lives and injured more than 130 others yesterday evening and said later that he was confident that India would be able to stand up to such cowardly attacks on its unity, integrity and prosperity.

Mr Chidambaram also visited some of the injured at the Saifee Hospital and later held a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for an assessment of the situation. He was all praise for the resoluteness with which the people of Mumbai had faced the latest tragedy.

The Union Home Ministry had given out a figure of 21 dead and 141 injured late last night but revised the numbers later when more information became available. The Ministry said these numbers were subject to change on the basis of further verifications and confirmations.

A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Mr Chidambaram told a press conference that 17 deaths had been confirmed and that the severed head of a person had also been found. Of the 131 injured admitted to various hospitals in the city, as many as 26 were discharged yesterday itself. Of the remaining, 82 were said to be in a stable condition while 23 were stated to be seriously injured, some of them critically.

The three coordinated blasts in the country's financial capital took place at 1854 hours at Opera House, near the Diamond Market, at 1855 hours at Zaveri Bazaar and at 1906 hours at Kabuthar Khana in the Dadar area yesterday.

"The fact that they blasts took place within minutes of each other shows that it was a coordinated terror attack," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said preliminary investigations indicated that ammonium nitrate had been used in the explosives at all three places. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) also had timers and were not remotely-controlled, he said.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the press after visiting the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also seen.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing the press after visiting the sites of the three bomb blasts which claimed 18 lives, in Mumbai on July 14, 2011. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also seen.
He said the blast at Dadar was a low-intensity one, while the explosions at Opera House and Jhaveri Bazaar were of medium to high intensity.

The Home Minister said that the Maharashtra Government had swung into action immediately after the blasts and had pushed into service as many as 21 ambulances and moved all the injured to hospital within about an hour after the incidents.

He said two teams from the Central Forensic Science Laboratories in Delhi and Pune have reached Mumbai and visited all the blast sites and collected samples. A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) also reached the metropolis in the wee hours of today to join the investigations. A six-member post-blast investigation team of the National Secu

21 killed, 141 injured in three bomb attacks in Mumbai

At least 21 people were killed and more than 140 others suffered injuries in three coordinated bomb blasts set off by terrorists near the Diamond Market at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar (Kabutarkhana) in Mumbai during rush hour this evening.

Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
At least 21 people were killed and more than 140 others suffered injuries in others suffered injuries in three coordinated bomb blasts set off by terrorists near the Diamond Market at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar (Kabutarkhana) in this metropolis - India's financial capital - during rush hour this evening.

An update issued by the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi late tonight said 21 people had been killed and 141 injured in the blasts that took place between 1830 hours and 1900 hours.

All three blasts were caused by high-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs). No one had claimed responsibility for the blasts till late tonight, though Mumbai police sources suspected the involvement of the Indian Mujaheedin.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi condemned the blasts and conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims, They also appealed to the people to maintain calm and unity.

A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 13 lives and injured more than 80 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will visit the scene of the blasts tomorrow for an assessment of the situation.

Dr Singh spoke with Mr Chidambaram and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and asked them to take all necessary measures to ensure proper treatment of those injured and all possible assistance for the families of those killed. He also told them to keep him updated on the developments.

Mr Chavan visited the various hospitals where those injured were undergoing treatment while Deputy
Chief Minister Ajit Pawar visited Zaveri Bazaar.

A high alert has been sounded in the city and suburbs as well as other parts of the state. Similarly, alerts have been sounded in all the states around the country.

Mr Chavan said hospitals had been alerted to gear up for coping with the crisis and to be ready with blood and other facilities for surgeries.

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At Kabutarkhana near Dadar Station, a bomb exploded in a Wagon-R car. The bus stop was badly damaged and glass splinters flew from the site, making people run helter-skelter.

The explosion at Zaveri Bazaar during the rush hour creared panic in the area.The deafening sound jolted residents of the area.

Teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the National Security Guard (NSG) and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) are being rushed to the city to assist in the investigations.

In New Delhi, a high-level meeting was held in the Home Ministry to assess the situation.

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Mumbai blasts: Chidambaram to visit scene of attacks tomorrow

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram will visit Mumbai tomorrow to take stock of the situation in the wake of three blasts in the metropolis this evening in which at least 13 people were killed and more than 80 injured.

"Mr Chidambaram will leave for Mumbai tomorrow morning to assess the situation there in light of the blasts,"  Home Ministry sources confirmed tonight.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up Mr Chidambaram and talked to him about the situation arising out of the blasts in the Financial Capital of the country. Dr Singh asked Mr Chidambaram to keep him updated on the latest details of the situation in the wake of the attacks.

Earlier talking to reporters, Mr Chidambaram said the blasts that rocked Mumbai were a "coordinated attack by terrorists".

"The blasts took place between 1845 hrs and 1900 hrs and therefore we infer from this that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists," Mr Chidambaram added.

He said teams of forensic and security experts were being rushed to the blast sites to coordinate with Mumbai Police for investigations. He said the elite anti-terror force, the National Security Guard (NSG), which has a hub in Mumbai, is on standby.

"One Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) team from Delhi and one CFSL team from Hyderabad have been rushed to Mumbai by a special aircraft. The team from Delhi will take off shortly," he said.

The Home Minister said a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA), the premier terror probe agency, was already in Mumbai in connection with another investigation. "They have been asked to associate with Mumbai Police investigation. Another NIA team led by an inspector General is also being rushed to Mumbai."

"I have spoken to the Chief Minister and he is coordinating the relief and rescue operations," he said.

He also said there was no report of any other blast or threat. "Mumbai has been put on high alert and I appeal to the people to remain calm and maintain peace."

"All injured have been evacuated to hospitals. The number of  injured could rise," he said.

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Obama condemns bomb blasts in Mumbai, offers help to bring perpetrators to justice

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United States President Barack Obama today strongly condemned the "outrageous" bomb ttacks in Mumbai and offered support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attacks in Mumbai, and my thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and those who have lost loved ones," Mr Obama said in a statement.

"The U.S. government continues to monitor the situation, including the safety and security of our citizens. India is a close friend and partner of the United States. The American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice.

"During my trip to Mumbai, I saw firsthand the strength and resilience of the Indian people, and I have no doubt that the India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks," he added.

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