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Time Bomb Kills 1, Injures 14 in American Bank in New Delhi

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Times Staff Writer

A time bomb exploded Tuesday in the lobby of an American bank here, killing an Indian national and injuring 14 others. No Americans were injured.

Indian officials have been on the alert for possible terrorist attacks against Americans, but no person or group immediately took responsibility for the blast. It occurred at midday in the crowded lobby of the Citibank, in a new 12-story building in the Connaught Circle district of central New Delhi.

“We can confirm that a bomb exploded today in one of our branches in New Delhi,” said David Roberts, an American who is chief corporate officer in India for the New York-based Citibank. “We don’t know why it was done or who did it. The devastation was significant.”

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The police identified the dead man as Satish Kumar Chaudhary, 40, a resident of a suburban community who apparently was seated on a sofa under which the bomb was placed.

The building is a modern structure of glass and red sandstone. The banking offices, on two levels, were strewn with broken glass and bits of stone. Chaudhary was buried under a pile of debris.

The explosion rocked the district, shattering dozens of windows in the building, which also contains an office of Air-India, the international Indian airline.

“It is a miracle more people were not injured,” Roberts said.

Police Commissioner Vijay Karan said the bomb consisted of an “explosive device with a timer placed in a fiberglass suitcase.” He said the incident resembled a similar explosion two years ago near another American bank’s offices in New Delhi.

One of the injured, Rajiv Dhuper, 25, told the United News of India: “I was waiting in the reception area. Suddenly there was a loud explosion, and I felt a blow on my back. I don’t know how I managed to get out of the building.”

The explosion came at a time of increasing concern that New Delhi might be the target of an anti-American attack by pro-Iranian terrorists. The police in recent weeks have been registering U.S. citizens and conducting special patrols in areas where many Americans live.

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However, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy here said there was no reason to believe the explosion was connected to differences between the U.S. and Iranian governments.

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