Bangalore blasts: Police probing if betting lobby involved
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Last Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010, 19:06
Bangalore: A miffed Karnataka government today said police are investigating whether "betting lobby" is behind the blasts here that led to the shifting of the venue of IPL semi-finals to Mumbai on security grounds.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa last night appealed to IPL authorities not to shift the semi-final matches and promised to provide adequate security against the backdrop of two low-intensity blasts near Chinnaswamy cricket stadium on Saturday.

Voicing the state government's displeasure, Home Minister V S Acharya said "Police are probing this (betting lobby) angle also."

He said the state government had done its best to convince the IPL authorities about the security arrangements, but they have shifted the venue "for their own reasons". The IPL is already facing allegations from Opposition parties that it is a "gambling and betting" ring.

Local investigators meanwhile believed that perpetrators of the explosions may have plotted the incident to create a stampede.

An estimated 30 to 35,000 spectactors had gathered at the stadium to watch an IPL match between home team Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians. Following the blasts, two semi-finals slated for April 21 and 22 have been shifted from to Mumbai.

"The blasts does not appear to have been carried out by trained terrorists. The effort of the perpetrators appears to be to create stampede," an investigator said.

After chairing a high level meeting with top police officials last evening, Yeddyurappa told reporters, "Bangalore is a secure city and there is no need for any unnecessary apprehension.

The incident is a minor one. Bangalore Police is capable of handling any event. The Karnataka government and police are committed to providing security for IPL matches."

"I will appeal to the IPL organisers not to shift the matches from Bangalore and stage it in the city. The state's prestige is involved here. We are ready to provide necessary security for these matches," he added.

He described as "far from truth", BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla's statement that the matches were shifted after Police Commissioner (Shankar Bidari) had expressed apprehensions over security for semi-final matches.

Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari also asked IPL to reverse its "unfair" decision saying it was taken on the basis of "baseless and false presumption".

"If they don't revise the decision to shift, I am afraid BCCI will be committing a serious mistake and will be besmirching the fair name of a secure city like Bangalore," he said in a statement here.


First Published: Monday, April 19, 2010, 19:06

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