A massive hunt is under way in India's technology hub of Bangalore for an unidentified gunman who opened fire at one of the city's premier science institutes, killing a retired professor and wounding four other people. Authorities say the attack was probably the work of a terrorist group.

Police searched vehicles and set up barricades as they combed the southern city of Bangalore for assailants who targeted an international conference at a scientific research institute.

Police say an unidentified gunman entered the campus of the Indian Institute of Science Wednesday night and fired randomly outside an auditorium where about 200 scientists had gathered.

Police have recovered an AK-47 rifle and a grenade from the institute. The gunman escaped in a car with accomplices.

Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh said the attack appeared to be a "pre-planned terrorist activity" with the intention of creating fear in a city that is home to more than 1,500 information technology (I.T.) companies, including dozens of global firms.

The Commissioner of Police in Bangalore, Ajai Kumar Singh, said the involvement of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, a rebel group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir has not been ruled out.

Mr. Singh says the Laskhar-e-Taiba is under suspicion because it has mounted similar previous attacks in other parts of the country.

Intelligence agencies have previously warned that Islamic militants could target Bangalore's technology companies.

The authorities sought to reassure the city's I.T. community Thursday, saying they were taking measures to prevent similar incidents. A security alert was also sounded in other Indian states that are home to technology companies.

Police Commissioner R. Nataraj says patrols have been stepped up in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state.

"Special security is being provided to the I.T. corridor where we have important MNC's (multinational corporations) located, he explained. " We are maintaining a vigil of very high order."

India has emerged as a global center for information technology in recent years, with much of the industry located in the south of the country.