An improvised explosive device (IED) was found in an unclaimed bag at one of the entrances to Delhi’s largest flower market on Friday and was neutralized before its timer could trigger a detonation, sending a security alert to across the capital a few days before the Republic Day celebrations. .
The IED weighed around 3kg and was likely composed of potent chemicals like RDX or ammonium nitrate, officials familiar with the preliminary find said, while adding that shrapnel was seen in the device, which could have caused significant damage if it had exploded.
One of those familiar with the case said they did not rule out a terrorist motive and a connection to the blast that took place in Ludhiana last month, even as police began a search for identify who placed the bag there.
The market, the largest for flowers in the city, is usually bustling in the morning.
Additional Assistant Police Commissioner (East) Vinit Kumar said that at 10:16 a.m. their control room received a call about an unattended bag outside door number 1. A police team attended. immediately went to the scene, cordoned off the area and alerted other agencies about it. he said.
NSG chief executive MA Ganapathy told HT that “prima facie analysis of samples taken from the bomb site (at the flower market in Ghazipur) suggests that RDX and ammonium nitrate were used”. He added that the main findings had been shared with the Delhi Police.
A police officer, who did not want to be named, added that the bag was spotted on a sidewalk by the owner of a scooter, who had come from the market and was about to leave the area.
The man first informed the security guard, who called the police. At noon, the bomb squad, sniffer dogs, firefighters and firefighters, special cell detectives and National Security Guard (NSG) experts arrived and the market was evacuated.
“NSG bomb experts first attempted to defuse the IED. But since it had a timer device and it may have exploded, officials decided to destroy it by controlled explosion. No one was injured in this operation,” the officer added.
The controlled explosion was carried out in an eight-foot pit hastily dug with the help of an earth-moving machine 100m from where the bag was found.
NSG bomb detection and disposal experts collected traces of explosive materials from the site where they were placed and the area where they were destroyed, for further examination.
According to some police officers who were at the scene of the incident, the IED contained nearly 3 kg of explosive substance and shrapnel. A timer device was also seen, they said.
The NSG has a National Bomb Data Center which collects, analyzes and assesses all terrorist attack activity in India and in foreign countries. RDX is a weapons-grade explosive that is not sold on the open market and in most cases where it has been used in India, its origin has been traced to Pakistan, according to an intelligence official, who asked not to be named.
The presence of RDX, if confirmed, could be a significant clue as to motives or suspects. The Punjab police chief said on Friday evening that a cache of RDXs had been recovered near the border with Pakistan. “IED shipment weighing approximately 5kg, including 2.7kg of RDX recovered by STF in Gharinda area of Amritsar, just 2.5km from the international border,” said a tweet from the Managing Director’s official account. of Punjab Police, Viresh Kumar Bhawra.
A case under the relevant sections of the Explosives Act has been registered by the Delhi Police Counter Terrorism Squad, Special Cell.
Several police teams were formed to identify the suspect who planted the IED. Police are scanning CCTV cameras installed near the market for clues.
The police presence was intensified throughout the city and the control of vehicles at border points around the Ghazipur market was intensified after the recovery of the IED. The Ghazipur vegetable market adjacent to the flower market was open all day.