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Live grenade fuels panic

ALARM BELLS were sent ringing with the discovery of a military issue HE-36 hand grenade from the Gambhir River near the Yeshwant Sagar pumping station in the wee hours on Friday.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2006 17:02 IST

ALARM BELLS were sent ringing with the discovery of a military issue HE-36 hand grenade from the Gambhir River near the Yeshwant Sagar pumping station in the wee hours on Friday.

The discovery fuelled speculation that the explosive was planted to sabotage the pumping station and cut off water supply to the western part of the City. Expert opinion, however, was divided on the exact damage potential of the device that, though over two decades old and rusty, was technically ‘live’.

The solitary grenade was eventually defused by a team of experts led by A K Dwivedi, who is in charge of the Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad (BDDS), near MG Road police station in the afternoon. Extensive search operations at the site where the grenade was found failed to yield any more explosive.

Meanwhile, there was confusion over the exact circumstances leading to the grenade’s discovery. Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) claimed that the explosive device was first sighted by a beldar¸ Raju, who informed Assistant Engineer Abhay Rathore. After confirming the discovery the engineer informed the Mayor who, in turn, informed the police control
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‘It could have caused great damage’
A K Dwivedi, who is in charge of Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad (BDDS), said that the HE-36 grenade, used by the armed and para-military forces, contains 125 grams of high explosives like Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN), also known as Penthrite and Trinitrotoluene (TNT) and fragments into 36 pieces upon explosion, hence the name.

It can either be lobbed manually or, if there’s more time, fired through a rifle. The HE-36 has a killing radius of about nine yards and a danger zone of about 200 to 300 yards. Although the pin of the grenade defused on Friday was rusted it could, technically, have still gone off. Had this happened anything within eight feet would have been blown to smithereens while structures within a radius of 150 feet would have suffered extensive damage.