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Chidambaram praises security agencies for Pune blast suspect arrest

New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday praised the efforts of security and intelligence agencies for nabbing prime Pune bomb blast suspect Abdul Samad Bhatkal on Monday.

Bhatkal was picked up from Mangalore’s Bajpe Airport soon after his arrival from Dubai.

Bhatkal is a close relative of Riyaz Ahmed Bhatkal, a key member of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and another prime suspect in the Pune blast.

In his statement, Chidambaram complimented the coordinated efforts of the security agencies.

“I compliment ATS Maharashtra, the Pune Police, the central agencies for apprehending the prime suspect within 100 days of the incident,” Chidambaram said.

“The ATS of Maharashtra with assistance of Pune Police, were able to identify the prime suspect behind the bomb blast,” he added.

Bhatkal hails from Bhatkal in Uttar Kannada District of Karnataka. He was on way to Bhatkal after landing at Mangalore.

Chidambaram said the Maharashtra ATS would produce Bhatkal before a magistrate on Tuesday.

“ATS Maharashtra has taken Abdul Samad into custody and will produce him before the magistrate today,” he stated.

Bhatkal was the first high-profile arrest that the ATS has made in connection with the blast.

Reportedly, Bhatkal’s name cropped up when investigators were reviewing closed-circuit television camera footage of the German Bakery. A man in his mid-20 s was seen walking into the bakery with two bags and leaving with one.

There was a lookout notice served for Bhatkal for his alleged involvement in the blast.

Bhatkal was on board Air India flight XI 812 and was noticed by immigration officials, who subsequently alerted security agencies.

Officials then whisked Bhatkal away to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

The blast occurred on February 13 at the German Bakery in Pune, killing17 people, and injuring at least 60 others.

It was the first major terror attack since the 26/11Mumbai terror strikes.

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