Mumbai: Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has contacted its counterparts in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh seeking help in tracing an Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative who went underground post the triple bombings, an official said here on Saturday.

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The operative, reportedly identified as Abdullah, is believed to have recruited several youths into the IM -- a home-grown Islamist terrorist group -- since early this year and was in touch with some people in Karachi, said the official from the state police, requesting anonymity.

The security agencies have been examining the role of all known and unknown terror groups or their sleeper cells around the country and the operative's sudden disappearance from the security agencies radar is being viewed with suspicion. 

The authorities have sought details of passenger reservation charts of trains on the Kolkata-Mumbai and Kanpur-Mumbai routes in the past few weeks. 

Some trains operating on this sector terminate at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus here. The investigators hope to get some clues on the operatives who may have travelled to and from these cities. 

On Friday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out an operation in Ranchi as police were also working around a theory that the Mumbai blasts may not have been carried out by locals. 

Around a dozen special teams, comprising officials from different security agencies, have been set up to probe the triple blasts from all possible angles in an effort to crack the case. 

The three blasts that rocked central-to-south Mumbai Wednesday evening -- Dadar, Zaveri Bazar and Opera House -- has killed 19 people and injured 129 till date. It was the first terrorist attack in the financial hub of the country after 26/11.

Terrorists may have used safe house near blast sites

Meanwhile, investigators probing the Mumbai blasts believe the terrorists who planted the bombs may have used a 'safe house' somewhere near the blast sites to manufacture the explosive - a deadly cocktail of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

According to sources, the investigators base their theory on the fact that the bombs were improvised explosive devices -- IEDs or home-made bombs - using ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, called ANFO.  

The sources said the prepared IED is unstable and can go off by even a slight spark, therefore it would be difficult and dangerous to travel long distances with the bomb. 

Even police patrolling at various places in and around Mumbai is so intense that the bombers may not have taken the risk of being caught with a bomb, they said. 

Two of the three blast sites - Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House - are separated by a little over a kilometre, and Dadar, the third site, is about 12 km away. 

That means, if a 'safe house' was used, it could be close to or around Zaveri Bazaar or Opera House. 

The sources also said the terrorists who planted bombs at three sites in Mumbai may not have been locals, an examination of the CCTV footage collected from the sites of Wednesday's blasts has indicated. 

Investigation agencies are in possession of 11 CDs of CCTV footage recovered from the blast sites. The bombings left 19 dead and 129 injured.  

The sources said that the Intelligence Bureau had received an input from Hyderabad in February that some Indian Mujahideen men were planning to strike.  But the information could not be followed up because the terrorists have stopped using cellphones and emails, they said and added that they may have met in person.

ATS to grill IM members lodged in Gujarat, Karnataka jails

The Maharashtra ATS is likely to question alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) members lodged in Karnataka and Gujarat jails in connection with Wednesday's serial blasts in the city.

The ATS has also sought assistance from Kolkata Police asking them to verify if any suspects had travelled to Mumbai from that city and subsequently went underground after the blasts, as part of its probe into the triple bombings that left 19 people dead and injured over 130.

"A police team from Karnataka has come to Mumbai to help us. An ATS team from Maharashtra will also go to Karnataka and Ahmedabad to question the IM members lodged in the jails there," said a police official.

The ATS is likely to grill an alleged IM member Danish Riyaz in Ahmedabad who was arrested there in connection with 2008 serial blasts in Gujarat.

In Karnataka, police will also question those who are believed to have an association with family members of Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, the founder members of Indian Mujahideen.

ATS questions owner of bike found at blast site

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has questioned the owner of a bike, which was found very close to the blast site in Zaveri Bazar here, to put together the sequence of events on July 13.

The maroon colour Honda Activa bearing number MH-01-AS 718 was one of the bikes which was very close to the blast site and was partially destroyed in the bombings.

The bike belongs to one Ashok Jain who lives in Nagpada area.

Ashok's nephew Aniket Jain, whose father has a gold shop in Zaveri Bazar, said his uncle had parked the bike close to the blast site at around 3 pm on Wednesday while the blasts occurred at around 6.55 pm.

"ATS had called Ashok to its office at Nagpada on Friday with all the papers pertaining to the bike," said Aniket.

The insurance of the bike had expired two months ago. "We did not even realise that the insurance has expired," he said.
The front portion of the bike was completely destroyed in the blasts and the vehicle is presently in the custody of the police.

Police suspect that the blasts were triggered with the use of a IED kept in an abandoned umbrella, on one of the bikes there.

(Agencies)