Three men were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly placing an improvised explosive device-like object near a school in Kalamboli on June 17. The accused claimed to have no terror links and were trying to cause an explosion to extort money, the Navi Mumbai Police said.
In June, the police were alerted by the staff of New Sudhagad School about finding an explosive outside the school premises. “We had found an analogue watch, batteries, wires and a device inside a cement block, packed inside a metal box. The device was destroyed after a controlled blast and the debris sent to the forensic lab in Kalina,” a senior officer said.
After investigating for over a fortnight, the only lead that the police had were two CCTV grabs of allegedly the same man. “We were also trying to find where the ingredients of the device came from. While doing that, we managed to reach the man who procured the items and he led us to the other accused,” said the officer.
The accused have been identified as Deepak Dandekar (55), his friend Sushil Sathe (35) and Manish Bhagat (45). “Dandekar, a real estate agent, wanted to cause an explosion behind the school building, which was near a residential complex, to scare its builder into giving him money,” said the officer. Dandekar had allegedly been ordered by a court to pay Rs 5 lakh in a cheque bouncing case, but he managed to get only Rs 3 lakh after selling his and his wife’s possession, the police said.
“Sathe, a resident of Pune, is a patient of haemophilia and needed money to enter a medical trial. His job was to place the bomb but he panicked midway and left it at a spot and fled,” a senior officer said.
“The third accused, Bhagat, is a resident of Ulwe and had the least information about the matter. He helped them design the device, as his father used to work with explosives at a quarry,” the officer added.
The accused were arrested from Navi Mumbai and Pune on Wednesday evening. “As of now, it seems like a haphazard plan of immature culprits. The accused claim that they were only looking for money and have no relation with any terror groups. However, we are investigating,” a senior officer said.