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January 24, 2002
1550 IST

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USIS attack: Cameras provide vital clues

Police investigating the attack on the American Center in Kolkata has obtained vital clues from the video footage of the close circuit TV camera, which was on at the time of the strike.

Top brass of the Kolkata police had a ringside view of the attack on Tuesday morning during an examination of the video footage.

"We have got several clues from the footage," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detective Department) Somen Mitra said.

The examination of the footage has accomplished three vital tasks, a police official said. The camera not only briefly focused on the faces of the attackers, but the frame-by-frame video sequence, lasting for about 40 seconds, also showed the motorcycle used in the shootout and its number plate, the officials said.

The camera, which was installed to capture images of demonstrators who were coming in large numbers since the September 11 attacks in the United States, has recorded top shots.

Though visibility was poor because of the morning fog, the recording was enough to identify the killers, the officials said.

"We are now checking our records to see if any of them are on our wanted list," they said.

The cameras could capture only one motorcycle. However, there was enough circumstantial evidence to establish the presence of a second vehicle, the officials said.

The police have picked up 54 empty cartridges, which account for two magazines of an AK-47 rifle. Within the given time span, it is not possible for a single person to fire that many shots, experts said, adding only 37 shots could be fired from a single AK-47 in that period, leaving 17 shots unaccounted for.

There was not enough time for the shooter to replace an empty magazine, they said.

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(c) Copyright 2001 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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