A day after the explosion of 90 handmade bombs stored after seizure, both the police and forest department officials launched probes into the incident.
While forest department agreed that there were prima facie lapses that led to the incident, the police said there were possibilities of both negligence and foul play.
The 90 handmade bombs used for illegal hunting of wild animals, which were seized by the Maharashtra Forest department and were kept in a box, went off in the early hours of Wednesday leading to a major explosion at the office of the department at Paud near Pune. No casualties were reported in the explosion as the office was locked at the time. Due to the blast, the two closed shutters of the office were hurled several feet away and furniture and other things inside the office were damaged. The walls of the rented space also sustained cracks.
Deputy Conservator of Forest for Pune, A Shreelaxmi told The Indian Express, “An inquiry has been launched in the case. Prima facie there were lapses that resulted in the accident. Appropriate action will be taken based on the inquiry conducted.”
A Forest department staffer, who did not wish to be named, said: “Storing the crude explosive objects in an office space is itself prima facie negligent. The incident could have led to loss of life. The departmental inquiry will find out who were responsible for the storage, safety measures etc.”
Sub-Inspector Nitin Lawate of Paud police station said: “We are probing a possibility of negligence leading to the incident or if there was any foul play. There are some clues because of which we can not rule out the foul play possibility at this juncture of the probe. In either cases, an offence is likely to be registered.”
Police also said they will question the alleged poachers from whom the bombs were seized by the Forest department. “We will question them about the source of these bombs. That may lead us to some more information about these bombs.”
Forest department officials had told The Indian Express that the bombs were the size of table tennis balls and were made by wrapping explosive powder, small stones in pieces of rubber. Over 90 such bombs, which were seized last October were kept in a box at the Paud office of the Forest department, which is a rented property. Officials believe that the entire box acted as a single large bomb leading to a big explosion. The handmade bombs are used by poachers for killing wild boars and other wildlife. The bombs are packed in such a way that when a wild animal chews it, it explodes in its mouth and causes instant death of the animal.