Ranchi: 27 live bombs have been found in a room of a privately-run small hotel in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand and around 350 kilometres from Patna.
The bombs were discovered when the National Investigation Agency or NIA along with the Jharkhand Police raided the hotel after a tip-off that Haider Ali, one the main suspects in the serial blasts that hit Patna last month, hours before a Narendra Modi rally, might have been seen there. Four people have been detained for questioning but there have been no arrests.
The police said they worked till late last night to defuse the explosives, which were pipe bombs, nine bundles of three each and very similar to those that went off in Patna. A senior cop said they also found "timer devices with lotus branding," much like the ones that were found in Patna and also in the Bodh Gaya blasts in Bihar some months ago.
The bombs found in Ranchi were powerful; one of these bundles could have killed about 15 to 10 people and injured another 50, the police said.
Six people were killed and 83 injured in the Patna attack, which investigators link to a newly-formed branch in Ranchi of terror group Indian Mujahideen, though it has not claimed responsibility.
Haider Ali is among the six accused of the attack. Last week, the NIA raided a village in Jharkhand to find him but he managed to escape.
Investigators say Haider Ali is allegedly in close touch with Tehseen Akhtar, who has been effectively running the Mujahideen since its reported co-founder Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in August.
Those handling the case say that Haider Ali passed on instructions from Tehseen Akhtar to the man assigned to execute the attacks, Imtiaz Ansari. He was arrested while trying to run away from the train station where the first of seven bombs exploded in Patna.
Another 11 bombs were found and defused in the city.