The presence of an ‘explosive device’ in a plastic container near the shopping complex at BHEL Township in Ranipet, near here, caused panic among residents and shop owners on Tuesday.

The ‘explosive device’ had 150 grams of a ‘black powder,’ which looked like gun powder, and was amateurishly tied to a cell phone — without either a battery or a SIM card — and a cigarette lighter.

On information, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Vellore Range) R. Tamil Chandran and Superintendent of Police P. Vijayakumar rushed to the spot and had the entire area cordoned off. The suspicious material was quickly removed to the safety of an open place for safe disposal.

A team of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS), Chennai, summoned to examine the object, took the container to a dry lake bed near Arcot, where the powder was burnt. “There were no splinters found during the burning process,” the SP said. Only a chemical analysis of the sample would confirm its composition.

“There were no wires connecting the powder and the mobile phone. It appears to be a mischievous act by someone. The police have registered a case under the Explosive Substances Act,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

Powder samples were sent to the forensic laboratory in Chennai for a chemical analysis. The rest was safely burnt on the lake bed.

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