Man held for trying to sneak in batteries, chemical in Delhi Metro; triggers panic ahead of Republic Day

Updated on Jan 24, 2019 12:34 PM IST

The man, on being interrogated by the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police, told the police he was trying to check if explosives can be carried inside the metro.

According to police, they recovered seven packets containing batteries and one with ammonium chloride from the man, identified as Shihabudheen (in photo).(HT Photo)
According to police, they recovered seven packets containing batteries and one with ammonium chloride from the man, identified as Shihabudheen (in photo).(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAnvit Srivastava

Three days ahead of Republic Day, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Wednesday caught a 44-year-old man who was trying to sneak into the Delhi Metro with a packet full of batteries hidden in wheat flour dough and a powdered substance, triggering panic among the security agency’s bomb squad.

The man, on being interrogated by the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police, told the police he was trying to check if explosives can be carried inside the metro.

Assistant inspector general of CISF, Hemendra Singh, said eight packets were recovered. “Seven packets contained AA batteries with wheat flour dough and the last packet had ammonium chloride. It was concealed in the hood of his jacket,” Singh said.

A police officer said ammonium chloride and potassium nitrate, when mixed with other chemicals, are known to be used for making explosives.

However, Singh said the man told them ammonium chloride is used for cleaning gold and that he is involved in gold smuggling. “But the way he was hiding these items raises suspicion. He said he had been taking shelter in different parts of Delhi during his visits to the capital,” the AIG said.

Police are verifying his links, background and his claims. Till late Wednesday night, he was being interrogated by several law enforcement agencies.

Preliminary investigation revealed the man had extensively travelled to Egypt, Qatar, UAE and Nepal. Currencies of a few countries were recovered from him, police said.

According to CISF officers, the man, later identified as Shihabudheen from Malappuram in Kerala, arrived at the Subhash Nagar metro station on the Delhi Metro’s blue line around 4 pm.

“He was carrying a packet with him. Our man who was manning the X-ray scanner spotted a few batteries in the packet and the man was stopped for detailed frisking. On checking manually, we found batteries wrapped in dough. There was some powdered substance in the bag. We immediately alerted our bomb squad and the entry was cordoned for some time,” said an officer who is not authorised to speak to the media.

After the bomb detection team cleared the packet, the CISF men took it to the control room along with Shihabudheen and Delhi Police was called in.

“The man told us he was conducting a recee. He said he wanted to know if an explosive can be sneaked into the Delhi metro. We scanned CCTV footage and he was seen travelling alone,” the officer said.

The CISF is already maintaining a high alert in Delhi Metro and the Delhi airport following a few terror threats conveyed by the intelligence bureau ahead of the Republic Day.

Deputy commissioner of police (railways) Dinesh Gupta said they were questioning the man to check his background. He said joint interrogation continued till late Wednesday night.

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