Two parcels containing explosive material and a timer device hand-delivered at a real estate office here on Friday night caused a flutter as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had been invited for the Global Sourashtra Meet 2012 that began on Saturday.
Though Mr. Modi did not turn up for the two-day event, the police suspect that antisocial elements could have attempted to create panic ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s proposed visit publicised in the media.
This is the sixth incident of explosives found in and around Madurai since May 2011.
This includes the detection of a pipe bomb containing 8 kg of power gel 90 explosive placed under a causeway at Alampatti near Tirumangalam minutes before a convoy of BJP leader L.K. Advani was to pass through in October 2011.
In another incident, a low-intensity bomb exploded near a Ram temple at Anna Nagar in May 2012, days before senior BJP leaders, including Mr. Advani, participated in the party’s State conference in the suburbs here.
Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur said that Saturday’s incident was being probed and the motive was not known. He said the technology used in the bomb was similar to that of the Anna Nagar explosives.
The only clue available was the portrait of an unidentified youth prepared by the police. Efforts were on to trace him. The parcel was meant to be handed over to Umar Farook, an associate of Al-Umma activist Imam Ali, Mr. Mathur said.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) R. Thirunavukarasu, an unidentified youth delivered two parcels to Arumugam, a goldsmith, at a commercial complex on South Krishnankoil Street on Friday night. He was asked to hand them over to his neighbour Mr. Farook, who is in real estate business.
The manager of the real estate office, Ismail, to whom the parcel was handed over on Saturday morning, opened it to find the explosive materials along with wires, batteries and switches. On being informed, Mr. Farook alerted the police. The bomb detection and disposal squad defused the bomb.
Mr. Thirunavukarasu said that 80 gm of explosive material, including aluminium powder, was kept in a container which was connected to the timer device with a wire. The timer had not been activated, he said. Otherwise it would have exploded within 12 hours.
The police are trying to identify the person who had handed over the parcel.
Umar Farook and his business partner Jamal Maideen are being questioned.