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Original plan was to bomb local Sai temple: NIA

Last updated on: February 22, 2013 20:16 IST

A major lead that has emerged in Thursday’s Hyderabad twin blasts investigations -- in which 16 people were killed and 114 injured -- is that the plan to attack the Sai Baba temple at Dilsuknagar was changed at the last minute.

The visit of Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anurag Sharma to the temple on Thursday evening changed the plan, sources in National Investigation Agency and Hyderabad police tell

“The original plan was to carry out an attack at the Sai Baba temple; and had this been executed we would have seen over 50 deaths. As per the information available the plan was to plant three bombs at the temple area. However, due to the visit to the temple by the commissioner, security was high and there was heavy police presence. This made the group change its plan at the last minute and plant the bomb on bicycles away from the temple area,” a NIA source says.

The police say that the meticulously chalked-out attack was planned for over a period of five months. It has now been ascertained that the CCTV cables were cut off five days prior to the incident and this could have well been part of the plan.

 “The attackers had initially decided on targeting the devotees at the temple, but it appears that they had a back up plan as well. Normally if things do not go as per plan there is panic and the operation fails. However in this case it appears that there was a proper back up,” a source in Hyderabad police points out.

The attackers were aware that the security in the temple area is normally higher than other parts of Dilsukhnagar, and hence had a back up plan in mind.

The police are also examining whether the cables to the CCTV were cut off by the same group which carried out the attack. It makes sense for them to do so, since the CCTV footage turns out to be a crucial piece of evidence for the investigators.

The Sai Baba temple has been attacked in November, 2002, in which two people were killed and 22 others injured. The casualty was not too high at that time primarily because the bomb was not of great quality. However, this time around the bomb that was used was of very high quality and assembled by an expert.

Meanwhile the Andhra Pradesh government has set up two teams to assist the NIA in this probe.

Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad