New Delhi: The Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HuJI) has claimed responsibility for the terror bombing outside the Delhi High Court complex on Wednesday.

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In an email sent from an unknown location to various media houses, the HuJI claimed that the blast which left 11 people dead was the handiwork of the terror group, which also an affiliate in Bangladesh. 

It demanded that the death sentence of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru should be immediately 'repealed'. 

''We own the responsibility of today's blast at (the) high court (in) Delhi. Our demand is that Afzal Guru's death sentence should be repealed immediately else would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India,'' the email read. 

The Home Ministry is checking out the veracity of the email and ascertaining the location of the server from where it was sent.  Official sources said that the home ministry has not ruled out the involvement of the group in the blast.  Guru has been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court after he was convicted for the Dec 13, 2001 Parliament attack.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed militant has filed a mercy petition with President Pratibha Patil. The decision on his clemency is pending, even as the home ministry has recommended it be rejected.  'We are taking the email seriously,' National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief SC Sinha told reporters.

Police releases sketch of two suspects

Meanwhile, Police on Wednesday released sketches of two persons suspected of planting the bomb outside Delhi High Court which killed at least 11 people and injured over 90.

The sketches of the duo -- one believed to be in his 50s and the other in his mid-20s -- were prepared following descriptions provided by eyewitnesses who claimed they saw someone with a briefcase standing in the queue.

"We have released sketches of two suspects based on the descriptions given by eyewitnesses," a senior police official said.

The younger of the two suspects could be a couple of inches shorter than 6 feet with a middle parting of the hair while the other man was described as stout and having a light beard and shallow complexion.

"We may also release a third sketch depending upon the eyewitness accounts," the official said.

Police are also investigating whether the person who planted the bomb was among the injured.

According to some eyewitnesses, a man clad in a white shirt and carrying a briefcase was seen in the queue in front of the reception of the high court complex on Shershah Road just before the explosion.

Investigators said they are yet to ascertain whether there was a timer in the device.

"It may be possible that the bomb planter could not escape from the spot before the explosion took place. If there was a timer, he would have had ample time. There is also a possibility that the suspect could not manage to escape from the scene," a senior police official said.

Terror struck Delhi when a powerful bomb blast ripped through a crowded reception area at the entrance to the High Court on Wednesday morning killing 11 people and injuring over 90 people out of which 15 are serious, said Home Ministry sources.

The explosive device was suspected to kept in a briefcase outside the High Court compound between Gate No. 4 and 5 and went off at around 10.15 AM when 100 to 200 litigants were waiting to get passes to enter the premises. Some lawyers were also present at that time.

Condemning the "terrorist attack", Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Parliament that 11 people were dead and over 90 injured, some seriously.

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Chidambaram announced that the probe into the second bomb blast outside Delhi High Court in four months has been handed over to the National Investigative Agency(NIA). He said the bomb was suspected to have been kept in a briefcase.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast in the heart of the Capital which left a deep crater.
     
Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the blast was of "medium to high intensity" and created a "deep crater".

Asked whether the blast was a terror strike, Singh said "it had all the makings of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) set up by a terror group."
     
Singh said the bomb was kept in a suitcase since some of its remains were still in it.
     
After the bomb blast, panic-stricken people ran helter-skelter as it was chaos at the High Court premises.
     
Rahul Gupta, a litigant, was at the reception counter just 10 metres away from the blast site.
     
"I was just 10 metres from the site of the blast," said Gupta, adding, he saw "large number of injured people being taken to hospital." Singh said the blast had all the makings of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) set up by a terror group.
     
The blast happened in a public area where anyone can just come and drop a suitcase and walk away, he added.
     
The explosion left lawyers, litigants and passersby stunned. The entry pass counter was also partially damaged.
     
"It was "a deafening sound and what happened later was quite devastating," Ajay Aggarwal, a Supreme Court lawyer and an eye-witness said.
      
Delhi police suspected use of potassium nitrate in the bomb.
     
"We are investigating how the brief case was placed there It is not a controlled area. There were lots of people," said Special Commissioner Dharmendra Kumar.
     
Court proceedings were also suspended for a while. The main court premises where all the courtrooms are housed were evacuated.
     
The injured were taken to RML, Safdarjung and AIIMS hospitals with many of them suffered burn injuries.
     
Teams of National Investigating Agency(NIA) and National Security Guards(NSG) also rushed the spot before any evidence could be lost in the rans which lashed the Capital.
     
Court business is usually heavy on Wednesday which is listed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) day when the visitors come to the court in large numbers.
     
An explosion on May 25 triggered panic prompting the authorities to sound a high alert in the capital and tighten security at public places. No one was injured.
     
Low-intensity explosives, wrapped in a polythene bag and kept close to the car parked near Gate No. 7, went off around 1.30 PM. Ammonium nitrate, a battery-like object, wires and some nails were found at the site by forensic experts.
     
The previous major terror attack in the Capital was on September 13, 2008 when a series of five synchronised bomb blasts took place within a span of few minutes at various locations in Delhi. 30 people were killed and over 100 injured in this strike.

Pieces of flesh, people with blood soaked clothes outside HC

As terror struck outside the Delhi High Court, a man who lost one of his legs was seen trying to get away from the site as limbs and pieces of flesh were strewn on the ground along with shards of glass.

Lawyers and litigants with blood soaked clothes ran helter-skelter as soon as the blast took place.

Stunned by the deadly blast, a middle aged woman who had come to secure bail for her relative could not speak while litigant Rahul Gupta who was barely 10 metres away from the site had problems hearing.

Gupta, who was at the reception counter near the blast site, said he cannot hear after the deafening blast.
   
"I heard a loud noise and smoke coming out following by cries of people," said Narendra Kumar Singh, a guard at a construction site outside the court.
     
The Gate No.5, where the blast took place, was crowded with 100 to 200 people waiting in a queue to get entry passes. There were several lawyers at the spot.
   
A woman lawyer, who refused to identify herself, said she heard a loud noise while she was coming towards the court.
   
"By the time I could come police had cordoned off the roads and people were being taken to hospitals. I parked my car and walked to the gate. I am really terrified and hope none of my friends have been injured in the incident."
   
Another lawyer said the gate where the blast happened is one of the most crowded gates at the High Court premises and it was the "peak hour" at the court.
   
"This is the time when hundreds of people come here for making passes to enter the High Court. I was 200 metres away when the blast took place," he said.

"I heard a deafening sound and what happened later was quite devastating," Ajay Aggarwal, a lawyer and an eyewitness, said.
   
R P Luthra, another lawyer, who helped police personnel take out the injured from the spot, termed the scene as "horrific".
   
Man with briefcase seen outside court


"One person clad in a white shirt came with a briefcase and stood in the queue after which a bomb exploded within seconds."
   
This is what Mahender, an eye-witness who had come to the High Court for a hearing, claimed after a powerful bomb exploded outside the Delhi High Court in which 11 people were killed and over 90 injured.

The explosive device was suspected to have been kept in a briefcase outside the High Court.
   
"When I was standing in the line along with my friend, one person came in a white shirt with a briefcase in his hand and within seconds there was a blast. I could not see anything," Mahender said.

He said he sat on the floor after the blast took place only to see the person who was accompanying him was injured.

Compensation announced for victims


Meanwhile, Delhi Government announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in the blast outside the Delhi High Court while those permanently incapacitated will get Rs 2 lakh.

Those seriously injured in the blast will get Rs one lakh while in case of any death of minor, the family will get Rs 1.5 lakh. People who received minor injuries in the blast will be given Rs 10,000.

The compensation was announced after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the injured at the RML hospital.

Terming the incident as "very tragic", Dikshit said Delhi Government will provide all possible support to victims of the blast. "It is a very unfortunate incident. It is a very tragic incident. So many people were killed and injured," she said.

Asked whether Delhi Police should be blamed for the blast, she said the probe ordered by Home Minister P Chidambaram will look into all aspects.
   
She directed the hospital administration to provide "best treatment" to the injured.
   
Dikshit also directed the health department to provide best medical care to all those admitted in Safdurjung and other hospitals.

(Agencies)