New Delhi, May 25: A minor explosion outside Delhi High Court today shattered the lull in the capital for over eight months when a low intensity explosive went off without causing any damage.
The explosion prompted Delhi Police to sound an alert in the city and strengthen security by deploying more personnel on streets and crowded places like markets and to intensify checking of vehicles.
Mumbai Police was also put on high alert. The explosive kept in a white polythene bag near a lawyer's car parked at Gate No 7 on Service Road went off at around 1.25 pm causing panic and three minutes later, police received the call regarding the blast.
Police was groping for clues in the blast and were hesitant to hazard a guess about who was behind it. “It was not an accident. There was a minor explosion. A packet containing explosives kept in a plastic bag near the car's right side exploded. There were minor damages to the car. There was no casualty or injuries,” Dharmendra Kumar, Special Commissioner (Law and Order), told reporters. Today's blast was the second in the last eight months, the previous one being a blast in car on September 19 last year near Jama Masjid for which terror outfit Indian Mujahideen took responsibility. That blast took place after two unidentified men opened fire at a Taiwanese media crew ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Noting that the nature of the explosives is yet to be ascertained, he said the car owner has nothing to do with the incident. He said lawyer Rajat Jain had parked his car and had gone to the canteen to have food.
Personnel of the Delhi Police's Special Cell, Crime Branch and Bomb Detection and Disposal Unit were immediately rushed to the site along with fire brigade while experts from Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Delhi and NSG collected samples from the spot.
Sources said the forensic experts have collected some white powder and battery-like object from the spot but there were no shrapnels or timer devices.
“It was not a life-threatening blast... It was a small blast,” Kumar said adding the samples have been sent for forensic examination. He said it was an open access area and there were no CCTV coverage on the lane. “We are trying to ascertain whether it is an explosion. The residue found has been sent for forensic analysis to see whether there is any sign of explosive,” U K Bansal, Secretary (Internal Security) in Union Home Ministry, said.
Bansal said initially Explosive Vapour Device Detector was used to analyse the chemical composition of the explosive but it did not yield result. That can now be determined as the forensic teams of Delhi and National Security Guard (NSG) will be analysing the substance, he said.
After the September 13, 2008 blasts which killed 26 people and injured around 70, the city had witnessed several minor blasts. Fifteen days after the September 13 blasts, a low intensity explosion killed a girl in Mehrauli. A series of mysterious blasts near IIT in south Delhi as also the Jama Masjid blast in 2005 and last year along with the Mehrauli case remain unsolved.
“There was a sudden blast in the parking lot. We rushed to the spot and found a black bag burning beside the car,” said parking attendant Dharamvir. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice G S Sistani as also Delhi Police chief B K Gupta visited the spot. Lawyers having refreshment in a canteen inside the court complex and near the parking lot rushed outside after they heard a loud explosion.
“I was in canteen having a soft drink. At around 1:25 pm I heard a loud explosion outside gate no 7. I rushed outside and saw a burning plastic bag near a car. It was just below the bonnet,” a lawyer Safroz said. PTI