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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 19:23 GMT 20:23 UK
'Top Bombay bomber' shot dead
Indian police guard bomb site in Bombay
One of the blasts ripped through a crowded market area
Police in India say they have shot dead a man suspected of masterminding last month's twin bomb blasts in Bombay (Mumbai), which killed 52 people and injured more than 150.

"Two persons were shot dead by the police. One of them was Nasir, the mastermind behind the bomb blasts," the city's police commissioner was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

The police said the two men were killed in an encounter in one of the city's suburbs, Matunga.

The deputy chief minister of Maharashtra state, Chhagan Bhujbal, told the BBC that the men had refused to stop their car when directed to do so.

Police found documents and explosives in the vehicle, indicating that another attack was planned, he said.

Four people have so far been charged in connection with the 25 August blasts under India's tough anti-terror laws.

Revenge attacks?

The suspects, who include a couple and their 16-year-old daughter, were also charged with another bomb blast on 28 July.

A male suspect (second from left) emerges from court
The suspects were remanded in custody
All four are members of the minority Muslim community and are local to Bombay, India's financial capital, police said.

But they said they belonged to a little-known group allegedly motivated by a sense of grievance about last year's communal violence in the neighbouring state of Gujarat.

One, named as Mohammed Hanif, was described as having worked in Dubai.

His wife, Fahimida, and daughter, Farheen, had accompanied him to the Gateway of India where one of the two blasts occurred, police said earlier.

Vital clues

Police have also been questioning several other suspects.

They said they had found several vital clues leading to the arrests, but admitted that some key questions remained unanswered - not least the source of the powerful explosives used.

Detectives indicated that they had received vital information from the driver of one of the two taxis in which the explosives were planted.

India has blamed the attacks an outlawed Islamic militant group - Lashkar-e-Toiba - in the Pakistani-controlled part of the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Delhi also demanded that Islamabad hand over 19 suspects wanted in connection with other attacks.

Pakistan has denied giving shelter to any such suspects.

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed
"He was wanted for long time"

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