A suspected chemical bomb blast in a Maruti Swift Dzire car at Dugri village, 20 kilometres from this district headquarters in the wee hours of Saturday, killed a clothes merchant and left a murder accused with minor injuries.
The lower body of victim Ajay Sharma (35) of Jalandhar’s Moti Nagar area was blown away in this low-intensity explosion. Injured property dealer Jagmohan Singh (45) of Godaipur, who faces three cases of murder and another of drug trade, is under treatment at a private hospital.
Yet to confirm what caused the explosion, the rural police have called forensic experts from Chandigarh to find that out. Inspector general of police (zonal) Arpit Shukla, deputy inspector general Shive Kumar Verma, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harmohan Singh Sandhu, and superintendent of police (investigations) HPS Khakh reached the spot, 3 kilometres off the Jalandhar-Pathankot highway.
Jagmohan Singh has told the police that two men drove by on a motorcycle and threw a bomb near Ajay in the driver’s seat, when they were coming back from Rasulpur village early morning. He claimed that shocked by the injuries, he had failed to notice how the attackers looked. He adds that, later, he drove into a private hospital, in that damaged car, and called the police, who doubt his story in the light of evidence gathered from the spot.
Police said the road was too narrow for two vehicles to pass at the same time, and they’d have to look into why the car was off the highway, in an isolated place hidden by sugarcane fields. The cops blocked the highway for forensic examination and took the damaged car to the Maqsudan police station, where experts collected the some particles and blood samples from the vehicles.
A case under Sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 3 (repeal of portions of Act 12 of 1875), 4 (definition of explosive material), and 5 (continuing business of explosives without licence) of the Explosives Act was registered against Jagmohan Singh on the statement of Pinki, wife of victim Ajay Sharma. She told the police that Jagmohan Singh had picked up her husband from home around 7pm on Friday.
A medical board of three doctors, including a skin specialist, conducted the autopsy. Police guard the injured Jagmohan Singh at a private hospital, where he will undergo small plastic surgery on his injured left hand.
In the morning, the journalists gathered outside the Maqsudan police station were promised a press conference at 5pm for clarifications in the case, but in the evening, police were tight-lipped on the kind of explosive used, who had brought it, and why.