The state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Saturday questioned Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Pandey in connection with recovery of the powerful explosive Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) powder from inside the UP Assembly on Wednesday. According to officials, the CCTV footage showed the Unchahar constituency MLA on the particular seat a day before the explosive was recovered from under the cushion.
An ATS team, led by a Deputy SP-rank officer, visited Pandey’s residence in Dilkusha Colony and questioned him for about 45 minutes. “The MLA denied having any knowledge about the recovered susbtance. He also said that he did not notice any substance below the cushion of his seat on Tuesday. If needed, we will question him again,” ATS IG Asim Arun said. Pandey was not available for comment.
The agency also questioned 15 employees of the Vidhan Bhawan building, including those who first spotted the powder on Wednesday morning. “We have not reached any conclusion so far. The process of questioning people is on,” said Umesh Srivastava, SSP, ATS. He added that the agency, which had earlier scanned two days’ footage from the 23 CCTV cameras in the building, said they were yet to find any clue on how the substance got inside the building.
Meanwhile, the samples of the explosive have been sent to a Delhi laboratory for another test. During the search operation inside the Vidhan Bhawan on Friday, the ATS recovered a packet containing magnesium sulphate from the corner of a corridor. The substance is primarily used as a drying agent for packing. SSP Umesh Kumar said that the substance could be sent to a lab for further tests.