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Mohammad Azad, owner of house, visited site before blast, police arrests brothers Mohammad Scholzer and Shahzad: New revelations in Bhagalpur blast case

Similar incidents were reported from the spot in 2002, 2008 and 2018 but the local administration remained a mute spectator alleged the people living in the neighbourhood

A powerful explosion swept through a three-storey structure in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district’s Kajvalichak area on the night of Thursday, March 3 and Friday, March 4. The house where the massive explosion took place was less than 100 metres from the Kotwali police station. The blast killed at least 14 individuals, including six women and two children aged 2 and 3, and injured another ten.

Under the impact of the bomb, four adjacent houses were completely destroyed, while few others suffered cracks or partially caved in. The house where the blast occurred, according to the authorities, belonged to one Mohammad Azad Malik, who had rented it out to a woman named Lilawati Devi.

Kajwalichak is a densely populated area whose inhabitants were said to be involved in illegal firecracker business.

Mohammad Azad might have visited the sight in Bhagalpur before the blast

The SIT team investigating the case is now probing the role of Mohammad Azad Malik, the owner of the house where the blast took place. It is believed that Azad had visited the scene after the bomb blast but then suddenly disappeared. Azad has been absconding ever since. As a result, the police suspect that Azad might be involved in the occurrence of the blast.

It is being believed that Azad had visited Lilawati Devi before the explosion took place. In the given situation the police believe that Azad would undoubtedly be aware of the presence of gunpowder in the house and the illegal firecracker business that was being carried out in the house. It is being doubted that even Azad might be engaging in unlawful activity under the pretence of running an iron grill manufacturing business in the same premises.

Meanwhile, the special investigation team (SIT) probing the case stormed Azad’s home and apprehended his two brothers, Mohammad Scholzer and Shahzad. Aside from that, the authorities are looking into Azad’s ties to West Bengal and explosives smugglers.

SHO suspended for dereliction of duty

Furthermore, in view of the incident of illegal storage of gunpowder and manufacturing illegal firecrackers in the area, the Station house officer of the local Tatarpur police station, Sanjay Kumar Sudhanu, has been suspended for dereliction of duty, Bhagalpur’s senior superintendent of police Babu Ram said.

Notably, the Bihar DGP SK Singhal had told reporters, “Primary investigation has suggested that an unlicensed firecracker manufacturing unit was being run from the rented house. The ATS will probe the matter. FSL samples are being collected”. Gun powder and iron nails, used in making crude bombs and firecrackers, have been seized from the spot, he said.

Large quantity of gunpowder, illegal firecrackers and country-made bombs stored in the house caused the blast

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the large quantity of gunpowder, illegal firecrackers and country-made bombs stored in the house caused the blast. As such, the explosion was so powerful that its sound was heard and trembles felt up to 10 km from the spot. The blast sent splinters flying as far as half a km. The smell of burning gunpowder was reported to have extended several kilometres by residents of nearby towns. The house where the explosion occurred was reduced to rubble, as were three other pucca dwellings nearby.

Though the Bomb Disposal Squad has not yet found any bomb or its remains anywhere during the investigation, seven-eight kgs of gunpowder have been recovered from the debris. A huge quantity of ammonium nitrate and sulphur, used in the manufacture of firecrackers, besides wrappers and plastic, have also been found at the spot, revealed DGP SK Singhal.

Power supply lines were snapped due to the blast’s intensity and the rubble was hampering rescue operations. An earthmover was used to clear the rubbles, said the DGP.

Meanwhile, an FIR has been filed based on the statement of Tatarpur police station Inspector Purnendu Kumar. Mahendra Mandal and his family have been charged in this case, along with Mohammad Azad, Lilawati Devi, and their entire family. The FIR has been filed under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Explosive Substances Ac

The deceased have been identified as Lilawati Devi (55) her daughter-in-laws Pinki Devi (30) and Aarti Kumari (24) Pinki’s son Priyansu Kumar (14) and Aarti’s son Ayansh Kumar (2), said police. Others killed in the incident were identified as Mahendra (60) (Lilawati’s neighbour), his wife Sheela Devi (55) their son, Sunil Mandal (28), Nandani Devi (daughter-in-law ) (25) and her son Moon Kumar (3).

Not the first time that such an incident occured in the area in Bhagalpur

According to local residents, this is not the first time that a blast occurred at Navin’s house. Similar incidents were reported from the spot in 2002, 2008 and 2018 but the local administration remained a mute spectator alleged the people living in the neighbourhood.

In the 2002 incident, four people were killed on the spot and two others sustained serious injuries.

“In a similar incident on October 24, 2002, Mahendra’s Suresh Mandal and three others were killed,” said Singhal, adding that a charge sheet was filed in the case against four who died in the incident.

It is worth noting that earlier there was a blast in the Khagaria district of Bihar. Prior to that, in June 2021, a bomb exploded in a non-operational madarsa in front of the Noori Masjid Islampur complex in Navtolia under the Town police station area in the Banka district of Bihar. Many people, including Maulvi Mohammad Momid of the madrassa, were injured in the blast.

Similarly, on June 10, 2021, a bomb kept in a bag exploded in Bhuvaneshwari Rampur village of Bairagachi police station area of ​​Araria district of Bihar. A person named Mohammad Afroz was badly injured in this blast. Later it was told that Afroz was carrying the bomb in the bag. But after colliding with the bar, it exploded in his hand. Two live bombs were also recovered.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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