5 more live bombs found in Patna

Bomb disposal squad defuses one of the three crude bombs found at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Tuesday. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar  

Five more live bombs were recovered from Patna’s Gandhi maidan on Tuesday, two days after serial explosions rocked the venue during Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s rally, raising serious concerns about the capability of the security machinery in Bihar.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) rally, scheduled for Wednesday, has now been shifted from the Gandhi maidan to Miller High School.

The first bomb was found on Tuesday morning inside the maidan on the side of the SK memorial hall. It was deactivated soon after by the bomb squad of the Bihar police. The next two bombs were found towards late afternoon and early evening. They were defused by late evening.

“The bombs were found during our search and sanitisation operations,” Manu Maharaj, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, told The-Hindu. He appealed to the people to look out for suspicious objects.

Police expect to recover more bombs during their ongoing combing process. The recovery belied their earlier claim that the maidan had been sanitised and made ready for Wednesday’s rally.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami arrived in Patna on Tuesday, along with Director General, National Intelligence Agency Sharad Kumar and Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, S.C. Jha. Mr. Goswami held a meeting with the top brass of the Bihar police and officials in the government.

“We are contemplating what further measures we need to undertake in the wake of the blasts and are reviewing the law and order situation. The Bihar government has assured us that they would take care of the treatment of the injured,” Mr. Goswami told reporters.

He was noncommittal when asked about IB alerts to Bihar ahead of Mr. Modi’s rally. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has maintained that there were no specific inputs.

“On the right track”

Mr. Goswami said the blast probe was on the right track and the leads provided by the arrested accused Imtiaz Ansari and Ainul alias Tariq would help the police get to the bottom of the case. He assured the Centre’s full cooperation to Bihar. He issued directions for conducting training for anti-terrorism squad in the State.

The key suspect Imtiaz, arrested at the Patna station, was produced before a court and sent to judicial custody on Tuesday. The city police will be taking his custody, Mr. Maharaj said.

The second suspect Ainul, who has been shown as arrested in the case, is still critically ill and could not be produced in court.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 4:00:44 AM |

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