Two days after the powerful explosion killed 89 people in Petlawad town of Jhabua district in MP, the local police on Monday claimed to have recovered 69 detonators and large number of gelatine sticks from the residence of the brother of the main accused, Rajendra Kasawa. Madhya Pradesh government has already announced a reward of Rs one lakh on the information leading to the arrest of Rajendra Kasawa, who along with his family is on the run soon after the incident.
Rajendra Kasawa, a fertilizer merchant had stored explosives for mining work in a building he had taken on rent. The police though claimed that Kasawa had the licence to use explosives, it is not yet clear if he had allegedly violated rules by storing such a vast quantity of explosives.
“Police recovered 69 detonators and two batteries from the Mahavir Colony residence of Narendra Kasawa,” Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Virendra Singh Bais told the press.
According to the police, Narendra Kasawa, like his brother Rajendra, too is absconding along with his family from Petlawad.
“Gelatin sticks too were recovered from the place, but their exact number is not yet known,” police officer Bais added.
89 people were killed and nearly 100 injured after a massive blast caused by mining explosives stored in a building ripped through a crowded area in Petlawad town on Saturday. The blast had completely destroyed two buildings, one in which explosive material for digging wells was stored and an adjacent restaurant, besides damaging several others nearby.
An intensive search operation has been going on since Sunday following reports of large number of persons storing gelatine sticks in an illegal manner for carrying out mining and blasting rocks for construction work.
CM Shivraj Chouhan is also facing a testing time with the opposition Congress party drawing alleged links between accused Kasawa and the ruling party.
“How did it happen? The district head of BJP’s Vyapar Mandal (traders’ body) is running an explosive factory in the heart of the busy town. Would he be allowed to do so by the local authorities if he had not been a BJP leader?” Congress party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi claimed.
“Will Shivraj Chauhan wake up and order registration of case of murder by negligence and judicial inquiry by a sitting High court judge or protect the suspect because he is reportedly an office bearer of BJP? Therein lies the test of governance,” Chief spokesperson of the Congress party RS Surjewala wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The state government on its part have announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of those killed in the explosion apart from assuring a judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge.
“Guilty will be punished at all cost and no one is going to be spared,” CM Shivraj Chouhan said assuring the angry locals.
(With inputs from the PTI)