Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Blasts from the past: Cops still groping in the dark

The posters were put up in 2012 and 2013. The posters were put up in 2012 and 2013.
Written by Chandan Shantaram Haygunde | Pune | Posted: July 27, 2014 3:05 am

MANCHAR BLAST

At a time when investigation agencies are looking for clues about the July 10 blast in the parking lot of Faraskhana and Vishrambaug police stations, there have been cases – with suspected terror links  –  in the past in which a breakthrough has evaded the police till date.

Five and a half years back, on February 15, 2009, a low intensity blast took place inside a State Transport bus at Manchar in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, around 55 km from here. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Police had confirmed the use of gelatin sticks and detonators in the blast. A complaint was also filed at the Manchar police station against an unknown person. Investigators believed that the blast was not an accidental incident and the possibility of it being a trail of some major conspiracy was not ruled out. The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) too conducted a parallel probe in the case. But later, the investigations came to a halt and now it seems that the case, which could have given leads about growing extremist movements in Pune, is nowhere on the agenda  of investigators.

The blast took place in the ST bus at the MSRTC’s depot at Manchar around 7.30 pm on February 15, 2009. The bus was scheduled to go at Raanjani village in Ambegaon taluka. As per police records, there were some six passengers sitting on the seats in the front side. They ran out of the bus on hearing a sound of explosion, all of a sudden.

Though no passenger was injured, some part of the bus was damaged in the explosion. Bus conductor Kalidas Sonba Chikhale had then said he initially thought it was explosion of some firecracker. But later  the MSRTC depot officials informed Manchar police as they found that a seat in the middle of the bus along with the surrounding metallic body was blown apart in the explosion.

A Manchar police team, then led by assistant inspector Dnyaneshwar Ganore, had found about 12 ft long wire coming out of the window near the seat that was blown apart. The bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) parts of a detonator and a plastic wrapper of gelatin stick.

A team of state ATS led by inspector Peter Lobo (who is now assistant commissioner with Pune city police) conducted inspection of the bus. Damaged parts of the bus were taken for forensic tests.

The gelatin stick used in the blast was manufactured at a Nagpur-based ammunition factory. Some local residents reportedly told cops that gelatin sticks and detonators are used in the region for construction of wells and other purposes. However, after initial investigation, cops suspected that blast was carried out after properly arranging the circuit consisting the detonator, gelatin stick, wires and other objects. However, the investigators never found the persons involved in the blast and the continued…

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