Police on Wednesday detained the wife of prime accused Rajendra Kasawa, who is wanted in connection with last week's massive blast in Petlawad town that left more than 100 people dead.
"We have detained his wife Pramila and interrogating her to find out the whereabouts of Kasawa," district superintendent of police, GG Pandey told PTI.
Kasawa, who carries a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head has been absconding since the blast on Saturday. According to Seema Alawa, district additional superintendent of police (ASP) and head of SIT, formed to arrest Kasawa, some other family members of the accused have been detained.
"I won't disclose their names," she said adding search operations have been intensified to nab him. Kasawa has been booked under section 304 (manslaughter) of IPC and other two other sections of Explosive Substances Act after the blast, which completely destroyed at least two buildings --the one in which the explosive material for digging wells was stored, and an adjacent restaurant --besides damaging several houses.
The explosion occurred in Kasawa's building with the accused said to possess a licence for use of explosive material in the digging of wells. According to police, he had stored the explosive material, including gelatin sticks in huge quantity, in the residential building which also housed two shops and was situated close to the busy Sethia Restaurant in the new bus stand area.
On Tuesday, Kasawa's two brothers --Narendra and Phoolchand--were taken into custody, which the police believes will give definitive clues about the main accused. A top official associated with the probe had said that Kasawa's mobile phone was functioning till Saturday afternoon (even after the explosion) and his family members had been contacted using that phone.
Meanwhile, politics over Kasawa thickened here, with Congress leader and former union minister Kantilal Bhuria staging a protest at city Kotwali Police Station demanding that state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan should be booked immediately.
"Nandkumar has told media in Bhopal that Kasawa was a close friend of my son Dr Vikrant which is totally baseless. My son does have a friend whose name is Rajendra Kasawa but he is 30 and lives in Jhabua town not in Petlawad," Bhuria said. "When police can register a case yesterday against our state president Arun Yadav who had alleged that Kasawa was a RSS man, under government pressure, why can't they book Nandkumar? " he asked.