Church Street blast: Tweet claiming responsibility turns out to be a hoax

Written by: Oneindia Staff Writer

Bengaluru, Dec 28: An IED explosion occurred outside the Coconut Grove restaurant at Church Street, Bengaluru on Sunday night. One woman who was seriously injured in the blast died in the hospital later.

[Bengaluru blast: Was it Mehdi or SIMI?]

[IISc and Church Street attack on December 28: Just a coincidence]

Here are the live updates of the development after the blast:

11:30 pm: NIA's five member team will continue to assist the Bangalore police in the probe. So far the state government has not sought for an NIA probe and says that the Bangalore police will handle the case.

However, the state government says it will not interfere with the NIA as it is needed to coordinate between states.

11:15 pm: The tweet earlier today claiming responsibility for the Church Street blast turned out to be a hoax.

DCP crime Abishek Goyal said that it was a 17 year old disturbed boy who sent out the tweets. We are speaking to him and his parents Goyal also said. The handle has been suspended.

9:30 pm: Even as the Bangalore up the ante to nab Shaikh Mahmood the SIMI operative a team of the Tamil Nadu and the Andhra Pradesh have visited Church Street and taken stock of the situation.

This is more of a coordination and information sharing exercise. Apart from the TN and AP police a five member NIA team and also the central intelligence bureau inspected the blast site.

7.30 pm: The Madhya Pradesh ATS has sent the latest pictures of SIMI operative Shaikh Mehboob on the request by the Bangalore police. The Bangalore police had sought the latest photographs to verify his role in the Church Street blasts.

Mehboob was one of the operatives who had broken away from the Khandwa jail. He had also taken part in the Bijnor blast.

7.20 pm: The probe agencies say that they are getting vital information from both the Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh ATS in connection with the Church Street blast case. Officers associated with the probe say that even the NIA is working on the case and some leads have emerged which would be vital to the investigations.

7.10 pm:  The wannabe tweeter who claimed responsibility for the Church Street attack is now missing on Twitter as his handle has been suspended.

7.00 pm: In the midst of all the chaos and investigations, a person has taken to Twitter to claim responsibility for the Church Street blast. A wannabe tweeter by nature, he says that he is the one who planted the bomb and he dares the police to nab him.

6.30 pm: 2 CCTV images from the Bengaluru police:




6.15 pm: The Karnataka government has proposed the following steps to counter terror in the state:

  • Separate intelligence information cadre that will collate intelligence bureau alerts.
  • 40 software engineers to be inducted in order to fight cyber crime.
  • When there is a gathering of 100 or more people, establishments will provide access controls and install closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras.

5.30 pm: The Police have sourced the footage from 11 CCTV cameras and are examining it. The police suspect that the culprits may have visited the spot once in the afternoon and then returned at around 7.30 pm and planted the bomb.

5.05 pm: A reward of Rs 10 lakh has been announced for any information regarding the suspects in the Church Street Blast.

4.45 pm: The National Investigating Agency officials who visited Bangalore earlier today drew a similarity between the blasts at Pune and Chennai.

"The modus operandi and the type of materials used are very similar to the ones in Chennai and Pune", an officer informed.

Both the Pune and the Chennai blasts were attributed to the SIMI and the intent was similar the NIA says. For the want of an expert bomb maker the SIMI has been piecing together low intensity bombs which are meant to scare.

Moreover, carrying a low intensity bomb with lesser material is easier to smuggle in and plant as it draws very little attention, the officer also informed.

4.30 pm: A vital piece of information that could have been obtained from the security guard outside the Coconut Grove on Church Street is missing since he was not present at the spot when the bomb had been planted.

The Bangalore police had questioned the security guard for two hours before releasing him. He told the cops that he was not present at the time the bomb was planted since he was at the cigarette shop at that time.

[Why the SIMI link to Bengaluru makes more sense?]

Bengaluru blast

3:30 pm: A team is coordinating with the Maharashtra ATS and the also the Madhya Pradesh ATS to get more information on the SIMI. There is a great deal of similarity between the attack in Pune and the one at Church street, police sources say. Moreover the SIMI has built up a good network in Bangalore as well, sources also point out.

2:33 pm: The police suspect that the bomb was prepared in the outskirts of city and brought in before it was planted at Church Street.
The police believe that the suspects may have not gone too far away and have sent teams to Kolar and Tumkur apart from Chennai as well.
The primary focus at the moment continues to be on the Al-Ummah, which had carried out the blast outside the BJP office at Malleshwaram last year.

1:49 pm: Lead investigator and additional commissioner of Police, Alok Kumar said that teams are being sent to various states to collect information.
He says that all angles are being explored and details are being collected by the forensics team as well. We are also analysing the CCTV footage for more clues.
It may take a while more to get the correct picture but we are on the job and are hopeful of cracking the case soon. There was intelligence but nothing specific he also added.

12:46 pm: Video footage of four people suspiciously moving close to the restaurant has been revealed. These people were seen wandering aimlessly 45 minutes before the blast; The police say they have ample footage. "There are many cameras on Church Street. The only camera that was not working was the one in the hotel. "The camera facing the road was not working," the police said.

12:18 pm: The police have zeroed in on the Al-Ummah-the same group, which carried out the BJP office blast in Malleshwaram. A team of the Bangalore police has left for Tamil Nadu to probe the matter further.

12:08 pm: "Bangalore has been attacked several times in the past. We have enhanced security. We are coordinating with the central agencies," said Home minister Rajnath Singh. He has assured of all support.  

"A central IB team is also giving us information. We have discussed more methods on strengthening security. The high level meeting with police officials decided on how to enhance security further. CCTV cameras in all crowded places will be made mandatory," said Rajnath Singh.

From the Vidhan Soudha in the five kilometre radius security will be enhanced.

12:07 pm: Injured are out of danger. The post mortem will be conducted on Bhavani the deceased and body will be sent to Tamil Nadu
"We have announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of deceased. Injured will be treated at State Government cost," said CM Siddaramaiah.

12:00 pm: The bomb was planted among the plants. The inquiry is on.

10:45 am: The police is coordinating with their counterparts in Warangal after a mobile number was found on the newspaper in which the bomb was wrapped. The bomb was first wrapped in a cloth and then a newspaper to cover it.

Although the accused would not write his mobile number down, the police are still verifying the same.

10:40 am: There was no pipe in the bomb. The exact composition of the bomb was Ammonium Nitrate, Gelatine sticks, a battery timer, cloth and a newspaper. 


10:39 am: The state government is still deciding on whether to hand over the Church Street Blast probe to the NIA. The Bengaluru police team says that they are capable of handling the investigations and have requested the Chief Minister and Home Minister to continue with the probe. However they have also assured that they would seek the help of the NIA too.

10:27 am: Local Dailies believe that the victim could have been saved had people given way to the auto that carried her.  Surprisingly, no ambulance came to help.

9:40 am:  The police have formed several teams to probe the Church Street blasts. The teams being headed by Additional Commissioner of Police, Alok Kumar will work on the case. The team will submit its preliminary finding later today.

9:30 am: The exact time of the bomb blast last night was 8.38 pm. The bomb was packed tightly into a cloth and then wrapped into a Telugu newspaper and was timed to 8.38 pm. A team of the forensic investigators are at the spot searching for more clues.

9:22 am: Two intelligence alerts were given to the Bangalore police in the past 20 days. The first alert was following the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas. The second alert was from the central agencies about five SIMI men making an attempt to target cities in India.

9:03 am:  A team of the National Investigating Agency will arrive in Bangalore shortly to look into the incident. An officer with the NIA had told oneindia last night that a team would be looking into the incident. Although there is no official directive from the government for an NIA probe, the charter of the agency says that it can suo motu probe into the matter.

8:40 am: Chief Minister of Karnataka and the Home Minister will convene a high level meeting at 10 am today to take stock of the situation in the wake of the Church Street blasts.

The meeting would involve the top officials of the police department and also officers of the state intelligence bureau. The meeting is aimed at discussing the further course of the probe. During the meeting the officials would also discuss why the specific intelligence given to the police had not been acted upon.

8:25 am: The Bangalore police has collected the information gathered from the mobile towers at Church Street and the surrounding areas to trace the phones that were active at the time of the blast.

This would help the police gather information on the possible calls made by the bomber/bombers.

8:10 am: The bomb which exploded at Church Street last night was covered in a Telugu newspaper, preliminary investigations have revealed. Further, it has also been found that the bomb was attached to a battery timer and was packed with shrapnel. The police are also exploring the traces of ammonium nitrate found in the bomb, which had created an nine inch crater in the ground after the explosion.


8:00 am:The police who are probing the Church Street blasts say that it could have been an attempt to stall the New Year Celebrations in the city. We are looking into every possible angle and not ruling out anything.

K J George Home Minister of Karnataka visited the spot early this morning and said that a high-level meeting will be held to take stock of the situation. [Read]

(Updates end for the night)

Not intelligence failure, CM Siddaramaiah says, to convene high-level meeting on Monday

01.50 am: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who visited the spot where the blast occurred said that after the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the police had been alerted and security too was beefed up. "We cannot call it an intelligence failure and the police have done their best," he said.

"I will hold a high level meeting in the morning. I was out of station and even the home minister is out of station. He is coming back in sometime and in the morning we will hold a high level discussion. Let the investigations proceed and not speculate for now," he added.

IB alert was not specific, says Bengaluru Police

01.37 am: The Bengaluru Police says that the Intelligence Bureau alert that was passed on to them was not specific in nature. There has been a threat alert but it was only generic The alert was issued ahead of a festival season and New Year, the Bangalore police says. Commissioner of Police M N Reddi said that there has been a general threat perception in view of the festivities.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrives at Church Street

01:25 am: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has arrived at Church Street to take stock of the situation. After inspecting the spot, he will hold discussions with Bengaluru Police Commissioner and also the state police chief. the CM has been assured by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh of all support in the probe.


Preliminary probe suggests the bomb was planted at the restaurant around 7.30 pm

01.04 am: Preliminary investigations and CCTV footage obtained suggest that the bomb was kept at the Coconut Grove restaurant around 7.30 pm.

Since the area is extremely crowded during the weekends, none took note of the bag which remained there for almost an hour.

The bomb which was planted was timed to go off in an hour after it had been planted.

However, the police are not entirely happy with the CCTV footage that they have managed to obtain as there were some issues with one of the cameras that was in the restaurant.

The investigating team headed by Additional Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar is gathering the information to get more leads on the incident.

National Investigation Agency team to look into blast

12.50 am: A team of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) will look into the Church Street blast. An NIA official informed that it is too early to comment on who could have carried out the blast. Prima facie it appears that similar material was used in the Chennai train blast as well. On being asked if someone could have done this to retaliate against the recent arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas [Bengaluru man handling ISIS Twitter account hails from Bengal], the officer said it will be explored too.

Union minister and Bengaluru South MP Ananth Kumar condemns the blast

12.40 am: Union minister Ananth Kumar condemns the attack, says he has spoken to CM Siddaramaiah.

Police launch extensive manhunt to trace those behind blast

12.30 am:
The police have launched an extensive manhunt to trace the persons behind the Church Street blast. Some clues have emerged regarding the suspects identity after questioning two persons and also based on CCTV footage.

Suspicious bag at Shantinagar bus stand turned out to be a hoax

12.27 am: The suspicious bag that was found at the Shanthinagar bus stand has turned out to be nothing. Earlier there was speculation that this bag belonged to the suspect. However upon verification there was nothing found in it.

Aluminium pipe used in blast

12.05 am: Fresh leads suggest that an aluminium pipe was used in the bomb used in the blast. An aluminium pipe has very often been used in other blasts as well where in the material is stuffed into the pipe in order to create an impact.

The police have also found a battery which was meant for the timer to trigger off the blast.

Most specific alert was about SIMI operatives

12.00 am: The most specific warning that the Bangalore Police had from the central intelligence agencies was about the SIMI members. This alert was sent to the Bangalore Police and also various other police officials of big cities. The Khandwa Jail break which took place last year saw six members of the SIMI escaping. They have carried out a spate of robberies and also the Chennai train blasts.

Police probe Al-Ummah angle into the blast

11.57 pm: Another angle that is being probed is with regard to the Al-Ummah. The police are checking to see if this outfit which carried out the blast outside the BJP office in Bangalore could be behind this incident too.

After IB, Karnataka home minister also calls the blast a terror attack

11.50 pm: Karnataka Home Minister K George has termed the blast as a terror attack. The Intelligence Bureau had also called it a terror attack earlier.

SIMI operatives behind Chennai train blast involved in blast?

11.47 pm: The nightmare called the Khandwa jail break in which SIMI operatives escaped appears to be haunting investigators probing the blast. Based on an intelligence report, the suspicion is on the SIMI.

There were at least three alerts stating that these persons- Aizazuddin Mohammed , Zakir Hussain , Mehboob , Aslam Ayub Khan and Amzad Ramzan Khan could strike. They were involved in several bank robberies which included one at Karimnagar and also the Chennai train blast.


CM Siddaramaiah rushing back from Mysuru

11.45 am:
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is in Mysuru, will rush back to Bangalore to take stock of the situation in the event of the Bangalore blast. The CM had spoken with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the latter assured him of all support.

Police to probe SIMI angle

11.27 pm: As all probable angles are being explored, the police are also ascertaining whether it could be the job of five SIMI members who have been on the run for the past year after they broke out from the Khandwa jail. "This is not a confirmed angle, but we have sought information from both the IB and the Madhya Pradesh police," a Bangalore police official informed.


Bomb was triggered off by a timer device, the timing was around 8.45 pm

11.24 pm: Sources confirmed that the bomb was triggered off by a timer device. Preliminary investigations suggest that the device was timed to trigger off the bomb at around 8.45 pm.

Questioned persons are not suspects; one is a pan-shop owner while the other a security guard

11.20 pm: The two persons being questioned are not suspects. One is a pan shop owner while the other is a security guard. These persons are being questioned for the identity of the person who planted the bomb.


Forensic team at blast spot

11.02 pm: A forensic team has arrived at the spot and is collecting material to ascertain the composition of the bomb. The team will collect the material and verify the composition.


Preliminary investigations point at the presence of ammonium nitrate, IED timer and shrapnel wrapped tightly into a cloth. The investigators are also looking at the possibility of gelatine sticks being used.

Injured woman dies in hospital

11.00 pm: Bhavani, 37, who was injured in the blast has passed away at the Mallya Hospital. She sustained head injuries.

Too much internal bleeding, said doctors

Dr Kanchan of Mallya Hospital confirmed Bhavani's death. She said they did their best but there was too much internal bleeding. She had been hit on her head. Bhavani, a resident of Tamil Nadu, had come on a holiday to Bengaluru. She had her dinner at the Empire hotel on Church street and was returning when the blast hit her.

Don't panic and spread rumours, appeals Bengaluru police commissioner

10.55 pm: Bengaluru Police Commissioner MN Reddi has urged the people to stop spreading rumours about another blast. He also confirmed that there has been no other blast anywhere in the city.

IB puts nation on high alert

10.50 pm: The IB sounded a high alert across the country. It has advised all major cities to be on high alert while also adding that terrorists, both groups and lone wolves might try and target crowded places ahead of the New Years celebrations.

Cops examine CCTV footage to get more clues

10.45 pm:
The police were examining the CCTV footage to get more clues about the persons who carried out the attack. Police sources informed that they have CCTV images and are looking into them.

2 persons being questioned

10.25 pm: The Bangalore police has started questioning two persons in connection with the Church Street blast. The police are treating these persons as suspects and are questioning them for more details on the incident.

An act of terror, says IB

10.20 pm: Intelligence Bureau officials have termed it as an act of terror. The intention was to create terror and planting it in a crowded area such as Church Street on a Sunday night when the road is normally crowded was done with an intention of causing damage.


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assures Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

10.10 pm: Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of all assistance.

Bomb composition

10.06 pm: The bomb comprised IED and shrapnel as per preliminary investigation reports. The bomb was triggered off by using a timer device is also what the early indication is. It was a small package thus indicating that it was of low intensity. However the police are looking for more details.

The investigations so far have also revealed that in addition to the IED timer and shrapnel there have been traces of ammonium nitrate too.

Bengaluru cops to seek help of central agencies

10.05 pm: The Bangalore Police will seek the help of the central agencies in ascertaining who is behind this attack.The possibility of the NIA also joining the probe is not ruled out. The bomb comprised IED and shrapnel as per preliminary investigation reports.

The police arrived on the spot and were investigating the case. The area was cordoned off after the blast.

Low-intensity blast, says police commissioner

9.50 pm: Bangalore Police Commissioner M N Reddi said the blast on Church Street said the blast was a low-intensity one. The commissioner, however, refused to divulge more details and said investigations are on.

Bengaluru on high alert

9.40 pm: The Bangalore police have put the city on high alert following the blast. Search operations are being undertaken and coordination with the intelligence agencies has commenced.

While one lady Bhavani is serious with a head injury the other two Karthick and Sandeep are out of danger. Two have been admitted to the Mallya hospital while one is at the Hosmat hospital.

IISC attack occurred on the same day in 2005

Incidentally this was the same day that even the IISC attack was carried out on December 28 in 2005. The blast also comes two weeks after the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas. While it is too early to come to any conclusion the police are not ruling anything out.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah assured of a fair probe and appealed to the people to stay calm.

Oneindia News

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