Detained in Ballia, Pandey being brought to Varanasi

Almost a week after the Varanasi bomb blast, police traced the father of the girl child, Gauri, who was found abandoned at the Sheetla Ghat after the explosion ripped apart the area. Neelesh Pandey was detained in Ballia, eastern U.P.

Inspector-General (Law and Order) A.P. Maheshwari told journalists on Monday that he was being brought to Varanasi. The investigating agencies hope to find vital clues to the blast from Pandey, who, along with his wife, was present at the ghat when the incident occurred during the Ganga aarti around 6.45 p.m on December 7.

Mystery shrouded the couple's disappearance. There was no response from them though several messages had been put out in the print and electronic media appealing to near and dear ones to take custody of the child, which was found abandoned after the blast and sent to the Child Helpline Centre at Varanasi. Visuals were also aired on television channels.

Reports said the couple, who hail from Ballia, were traced on Sunday.

Unconfirmed reports, quoting Pandey, said he thought his daughter was dead as he could not find her in the mayhem that followed the explosion.

Meanwhile, no breakthrough has been made into the type of explosive used and those behind the incident. The report from the Forensic Science Laboratory in Agra is awaited.