A busy supermarket in Valar Nagar near Uthangudi narrowly escaped after a high intensity pipe-bomb that had been ignited but failed to explode, here on Tuesday evening.
Sources said that the bomb was spotted by the watchman of the Reliance supermarket in Valar Nagar near Uthangudi during his routine rounds at 3.30 pm. He found the explosive planted on the backyard of the complex and immediately alerted the store manager, who in turn informed the police.
On information, the rural police, along with Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) personnel, reached the spot and recovered the bomb. Later, the team took it to a quarry at Pudhuthamaraipatti. Madurai Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra S Bidari, also rushed to the spot and held enquiries.
According to a senior official, “The bomb, weighing nearly three kg, was packed in an iron pipe, which was sealed tightly on both the ends. A can of petrol was also found near the bomb.”
The fuse of the bomb had been ignited, but it failed to explode, said a police official, adding that had the explosive detonated, it would have impacted an area of half a kilometre at least.
“The fuse was found partly burnt. We suspect the miscreant had lit the bomb, but it did not reach the explosives inside the pipe,” said another top police officer.
Police said that the bomb was higher than the one that was seized near Tirumalgalam on the proposed rath yatra route of BJP senior leader L K Advani in October 2011. Police were not ruling out graver designs as the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court and media office are situated close to the Reliance supermarket and Valar Nagar is a residential area.
“At this stage, we cannot say exactly which group is behind this attempt. We will inquire with all the employees of the supermarket and also check the CCTV footage to come to a conclusion,” said a police officer.