The ploy could have been explosive but it turned out to be a dud in the end.
Indeed, the self-claimed desperation for a permanent job made a former contractual class four court employee set off a bomb scare on the Allahabad high court premises, police said.
Santosh Kumar Agrahari was arrested Friday within 24 hours of having alerted other court employees and judicial officers after claiming to have found a tiffin box full of firecrackers and a suspicious explosive-like powder late Thursday night, police added.
He confessed later to having placing a plastic with the box under a bench in a courtroom, taking advantage of the lack of activity during the Diwali vacations which have begun, police claimed.
Jobless for the last few years, he also admitted that he alerted the court officials so that he could gain their confidence and win a recommendation for a permanent job at the court, police said.
A case was registered against Agrahari under Section 4/5 of the Explosives Act at the Cantonment police station here, police said.
Senior superintendent of police Shalabh Mathur also said the powder found inside the box seemed to be a common explosive used in crackers. It has been sent to a forensic lab for tests. Agrahari, the sole breadwinner of his family of four, told the police he was going through an acute financial crisis.
His role came under suspicion when he was asked about his designation at the high court and failed to give a satisfactory answer, senior superintendent of police Shalabh Mathur said.
His identity card was also found to be outdated. Contradictions in Agrahari’s statements were found when CCTV footage of the courtroom and the corridor were scanned. He informed the police that he thrice entered courtroom number 55 and spotted an unclaimed polythene bag after which he alerted the other court employees. However, the footage revealed Agrahari was roaming in the corridor with the polythene bag in his hand.
Agrahari said he entered the court premises with the crackers in his pockets via gate number 4 of the high court after showing his old identity card. He had hidden the tiffin on a shelf near courtroom 37. He packed the box with the crackers and other material at a store behind the same courtroom. Then, he went to courtroom 55.He told the police that he worked as a contractual employee at the high court for 14 years but was never given permanent employment. The SSP further said Agrahari’s contract came to an end a few years ago after which he became jobless.
However, he continued to come to court, taking advantage of his old identity card and managed to earn a few hundred rupees doing odd jobs. A class 7 dropout, he belongs to Amethi district but lives with his wife and two children in Rajruppur locality of Allahabad. His wife holds an MA degree.
Earlier, panic gripped the high court premises when the unclaimed polythene bag containing a tiffin box was recovered from courtroom number 55 late Thursday evening. Some firecrackers, a plastic ball wrapped in tape and powder mixed with ball bearings was recovered from the box and the polythene bag which also had a knife. District magistrate Sanjay Kumar, the SSP and other senior police officials rushed to the scene and summoned the bomb disposal squad. Taking no chances, the bomb disposal squad put the explosives in a bucket of water.