The investigation into the blast at a courier office in Ahmednagar on Tuesday night, in which two persons were injured, has been transferred to the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Investigators said they were investigating a terror angle, among other possibilities, as a crude bomb was planted inside a parcel addressed to Pune-based social worker Sanjay Nahar. Nahar runs an organisation called Sarhad, which works for the welfare of communities from conflict-affected border areas of the country.
Vinoykumar Choubey, Inspector General of Nashik Range, Maharashtra Police, told The Indian Express over the phone, “There was a crude bomb inside the parcel, and it comprised some explosives inside a transistor radio-like device, which went off after it was plugged in. The fact that it was addressed to Sanjay Nahar certainly makes it a sensitive case. We are also investigating a terror angle, among other possibilities. The case has now been transferred to the ATS and local police will continue assisting them…”.
Police sources said the use of an explosive, “a letter written as a trap and the level of deception in the delivery of the parcel”, pointed to a possible act of terror.
State ATS Chief Atulchandra Kulkarni confirmed that the squad has taken over the probe. “I will be speaking to the officers concerned and discuss the future course of the investigation,” said Kulkarni. The Nashik unit of the ATS will investigate the case. Along with the intelligence agencies, a team from National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also started looking into the case due to the possible terror angle, said sources.
Two staffers of the Shri Maruti Couriers, Sandeep Bhujbal and Sanjay Kshirsagar, were seriously injured in the incident. Initial investigation had revealed that inside the box, there was a letter addressed to Nahar, purportedly sent by a woman. The letter was written in Hindi in which the sender said she was a student of Sarhad College, which is run by the organisation, and was now working in Ahmednagar.
The letter further said she had recorded a message for Nahar in her own voice, to thank him for all his efforts. The sender said the device inside the package would have to be plugged in to charge it, as it didn’t have enough battery. The parcel had been delivered to the courier office on Tuesday, and it was packed like a gift. According to police, the staffer had opened the package out of curiosity, after he heard a faint sound, like that of a radio, from inside. Police had later released a sketch of the man who had delivered the package.
Late on Tuesday night, when one of the employees of the courier company plugged in the device, it had exploded. Police had recovered a metal pipe and white powder from the spot, which, along with the remains of the device, were sent for forensic analysis.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Thursday, Nahar said, “The police teams are still asking me if I can think of anyone I know who could have done this. But I have not been able give them anything concrete. There may be differences of opinions… I don’t know if anyone could go to this level.”
Founded in 1995, Sarhad works for communities, and students in particular, from Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern states and Bodoland Territorial Area districts in Assam. Nearly 200 boys and girls from these regions are currently studying in the educational institute run by Sarhad. The organisation takes care of educational expenses, as well as the lodging and boarding of these students.