Bathinda: The city police remained on their toes on Friday after suspected detonators (devices used to detonate an explosive) were recovered from a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader's car that met with an accident near Lehra Mohabbat on the Bathinda-Rampura Phul road on Thursday night, hours before the Independence Day celebrations.
Panic prevailed in the area after detonator-like objects were recovered from the Maruti Suzuki Swift (bearing registration number (PB05-AA159) in which former SAD sarpanch Kulwinder Singh of Ratta Khera village and his cousin Lakhwinder Singh were travelling to the city.
The car met with an accident near Guru Hargobind Thermal Power Plant at about 9:30pm.
The suspected material was first noticed by Col (retired) Sukhcharan Singh Rai, the chief security officer of the thermal power plant, early in the morning when he was patrolling the area.
Rai said he went near the overturned car and observed there were detonator-like objects inside it. After finding the objects suspicious, he I informed the police about it.
Livelink - Police investigating the scene after detonators were found in a swift car opposite lehara mahobat tharmal plant at Bathinda on Fariday. (HT Photo)
Already on an alert ahead of the Independence Day celebrations keeping in view the terrorist attack at Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district last month, the police with anti-sabotage team and a dog squad reached the spot and recovered the material from the vehicle.
The car occupants, who too reached the spot in the morning, claimed that they were returning to the city after meeting an official in the chief minister's residence in Chandigarh.
Additional director general of police (ADGP law and order) Rohit Chaudhary, inspector general of police (IGP Bathinda zone) Balbir Kumar Bawa, DIG (Bathinda range) Mohneesh Chawla and Bathinda SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti remained busy inside the crime investigation agency (CIA) staff and purportedly questioned the car occupants.
CIA personnel were also present there.
To bring about clarity on the nature of the seized objects, staff from the ordinance and engineering unit of the army in the Bathinda cantonment was also pressed into service.
Though senior police officials remained tight-lipped on the recovery, Bathinda SSP while coming out of the police station said they will verify the objects and the car occupants were called for interrogation. He said based on information received a case under Explosives Act would be registered in this connection.
Residents accuse police of frame-up
Meanwhile, residents of Ratta Khera village, who gathered outside the police station, alleged that both Lakhwinder and Kulwinder are being framed in the case. Parminder Singh, brother of Kulwinder, said both are being framed by the police to get publicity ahead of the Independence Day celebrations. "If there was something fishy, they wouldn't have gone back on the accident spot in the morning," he said.
Police arrive at DAV school Rama Mandi after a Hoax Bomb Call. (HT Photo)
Rumours abuzz in district
Rumors remained abuzz in the district and schools in the Rama Mandi area were closed after rumours of a bomb at a school created panic. The police also conducted checking inside the schools to verify the reality but didn't find anything.