Detector fails to spot real explosives

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Wrong signals: A file photo of a private security personnel with the long-range detection device for explosives at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Wrong signals: A file photo of a private security personnel with the long-range detection device for explosives at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Staff Reporter

Revelation comes after city police test device with TNT

BANGALORE: The long-range detection device for explosives used by a private security firm at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in fact failed to detect explosive material brought by the police for a test, after the device “indicated” the presence of explosives in the bag of a Jammu and Kashmir under-22 cricketer here on Saturday.

This startling revelation surfaced on Monday even as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the effectiveness of the device used by the Hyderabad-based Micro Sec ATS, which was in-charge of the security at the stadium.

A police officer told The Hindu that the Bangalore police had doubts about the warning emitted by the device. In order to test it, a small amount of TNT (2,4,6 trinitrotoluene) was placed in a corner of the clubhouse where the cricketers are staying. “The device did not signal the presence of TNT. Instead it continued to zero in on the bag of the cricketer. The signal vanished after two hours,” the officer pointed out.

Interestingly, a few months ago, Home Minister V.S. Acharya and senior police officials saw a demonstration of this device at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was later demonstrated at the State Police Headquarters. Each long-range explosives detection device costs about Rs. 1 crore.

The bag as well as the device have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for testing. The FSL will give a report in a few days. The city police arrested the cricketer and questioned him. He was set free after the police failed to find any incriminating material.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir cricketers have vacated the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s clubhouse and are now staying in a hotel.

Following Saturday’s development, nerves were frayed inside the Chinnaswamy Stadium as the Champions League matches were delayed for some time.

It is reliably learnt that the team management was not allowed to meet the player during the time he was away for questioning. There were rumours about explosives at the venue, and though a press release was emailed by the Champions League organisers to allay fears, the damage had been done.

Karnataka State Cricket Association officials kept repeating that the entire incident was under the jurisdiction of the State police and that everything was under control.

Meanwhile the cricketers were on edge. The Victoria Bushrangers and Cape Cobras teams were given a briefing at their team hotel. “At one point we thought we won’t be going to the stadium,” said Bushrangers’ captain Cameron White, while Cobras’ leading batsman Herschelle Gibbs stayed back in the hotel. “It was a personal decision and we had to respect that. We came here after the security personnel assured us of our safety,” said Cobras’ skipper Andrew Puttick. The tension showed on the field too as Bushrangers lost two quick wickets in the first over before things settled down. And in the end, the lingering thought was that clarity and transparency over the whole issue would have probably assuaged the Jammu and Kashmir team’s hurt sentiments besides stopping rumour-mongers from having a field day.

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