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NIA begins probe into discovery of explosives in U.P. Assembly

NIA team outside Uttar Pradesh Assembly in Lucknow on July 14, 2017 after explosive material were found on the premises.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on July 15 began a probe into the discovery of the high-grade Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) explosive material inside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, an official said.

Officials told IANS that a NIA team arrived in Lucknow on July 14 and was immediately briefed about the case.

The NIA officials, other than visiting the spot where the explosive material was discovered on July 13 evening, were likely to grill the security staff and agencies of the State police responsible for the security of the Vidhan Sabha.

 

The security personnel would be quizzed on why no action was taken to spruce up security despite a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau in May 2017 about a possible terror plot to attack the Assembly when in session.

The NIA team would also question janitors and others who have access to the exclusive area, near the seat of the Leader of the Opposition.

Police still clueless

Even as the NIA began its probe, questions remain on who actually sneaked in the explosive material.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had termed it a terror plot to harm the Assembly and the lawmakers but the police and investigative agencies so far find themselves tied in knots as to how the explosive material was sneaked in through the three-tier security of the Assembly and by whom.

A senior security official told IANS that many a times lawmakers refuse to cooperate with the security and throw a tantrum on being frisked.

Even the police sniffer dogs that are deployed during House sessions failed to discover the explosive material, which is very lethal and has potential of causing widespread damage. The white powder packet that was found near the seat of the Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhary weighed 150g. A police officer said 500g of PETN was enough to bring down the entire Vidhan Sabha building.

Investigators are now poring through CCTV footage to zero in on the person who could have planted the explosive material. Thankfully, whoever did smuggle in the explosive could not also sneak in the detonator. However, explosives experts say that a mobile phone was enough to “spark the powder” with dreadful consequences.

The place where the explosive material was found is a sanitised zone and only Vidhan Sabha security staff, marshals and the lawmakers are allowed to go there.

PETN was used by terrorists in the explosion outside the Delhi High Court on September 7, 2011, killing 17 people and injuring 76. PETN was also used to trigger serial blasts in Varanasi in 2016.


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 1:14:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/explosive-in-up-assembly-nia-begins-probe/article19284864.ece

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