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Compensate for hand pump destroyed as IED, Maharashtra firm tells Assam Police

The Assam Police took no chance after a ticking sound was detected from a parcel, but ended up destroying a small machinery instead.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2017 11:40 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam Police,Bomb squad,IED
A bomb squad of the Assam Police transporting a suspected IED from the Guwahati rail station before detonating it on Friday. (HT PHOTO)

A Maharashtra-based firm has sought compensation from the Assam Police for blowing up a battery-operated hand pump, also called ‘two-in-one sprayer’ on Friday after mistaking it to be an improvised explosive device (IED).

On August 8, Veda Enterprises dispatched the hand pump from Ahmednagar to its client in Aizawl, Mizoram. The parcel was kept at the postal headquarters in Guwahati where the equipment got switched on accidentally while being transported to the railway station on Friday.

Alarmed by the ticking sound, a home guard personnel on duty alerted the police. The bomb disposal squad which was summoned, suspected it to be an IED.

The police seized the handcart on which the ‘time bomb’ parcel had been loaded and detonated it at Rani on the outskirts of Guwahati in the morning.

But by the evening, the police admitted the goof-up and said the parcel destroyed was a machine used in agriculture and not an IED.

As questions were raised about the bomb disposal squad’s efficacy, a senior official said: “The battery fitted to a circuit was making a sound familiar in a city where extremists have detonated time bombs. Still, blowing up the parcel on suspicion that it was an IED was a judgemental error.”

But the agricultural equipment manufacturing firm operating from Ahmednagar, was not amused by the explanation.

Veda Enterprises’ owner Vijay Varma , said he should be compensated for the battery-operated hand pump that has a sticker price of Rs 3,000.

“I am sending another machine to my client. The one the police destroyed is a loss that should be compensated, at least partially. Ethically, the police should compensate me but I leave it to them,” Varma said.

The police said they would consider compensating the firm.

Varma said the machine, weighing about 8 kg, is meant to pump water and has a switch that may be activated due to external pressure.

“We sell around 500 such machines across the country in a year. This was the second instance of the pump getting switched on accidentally. The first time it happened in Delhi three months ago,” he said.

But a postal department employee called up the Veda Enterprises who then explained that the switch must have been activated.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 11:38 IST