An unattended laptop bag with a crude explosive device was found at Bajpe airport in Mangaluru on Monday morning, triggering panic as a police bomb squad moved the bag, and a metal container found inside, to a safe location outside the airport to defuse the device.
The explosive device was found inside a tiffin box-type metal container placed in the laptop bag, police sources said. The bag was found near a ticket counter, they added.
Although the improvised explosive device (IED) did not seem to have been armed to explode, Mangaluru police’s bomb squad exercised caution and took the device, with wires protruding, to an open field near the airport in a bomb disposal container and triggered a controlled blast — nearly six hours after the device was found — to defuse it.
A CISF official said, “One of our men found an abandoned bag. A bomb disposal squad was immediately informed. A low-intensity IED was found. It had all the components of an IED, except for the triggering mechanism.”
A dog squad trained to sniff out explosives alerted the police of the presence of explosive material in the container, airport officials said.
A senior police officer said, “It is not clear if the IED was armed to explode with a timer or any other type of trigger. Bomb experts have their own limitations. We are now investigating the nature of explosives and people who kept it at the airport.”
Mangaluru police said CCTV footage has been found of a man in a cap and a white shirt and dark pants, who is suspected to have abandoned the bag at the airport. The suspect is believed to have arrived in an autorickshaw to the airport, officials said based on the CCTV footage.
The police have registered a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Act. Mangaluru police commissioner P S Harsha said three teams have been formed to investigate the case.
From the nature of the controlled explosion witnessed at an open field near the airport, when police defused the IED, experts ruled out the possibility of it containing explosives such as RDX, or even large amounts of explosive. “It can be surmised that the explosive material in the container was probably a low explosive like ammonium nitrate gel,’’ a source said.
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