Patna: A powerful blast inside a dharmashala (rest house) at Ara in Bhojpur district kept police officials and sleuths of various intelligence agencies on tenterhooks almost the whole of Thursday.
One person, said to be a Bengal resident, was grievously injured in the blast. Vicky Paswan alias Vrahaspati, 25, a resident of Telinipara in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, has been admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital. His associate Jitendra Kumar Singh was arrested from Machhua Toli locality of Ara, district headquarters of Bhojpur, while trying to flee.
The blast took place around 6.30am when one of the five occupants of room number 110 of Harkhen Kumar Jain Dharmashala at Shish Mahal Chowk was making the bomb. The explosion was so powerful window panes and the door of the room were badly damaged.
A resident said tremors were felt in a 0.5km-radius. Police officials, however, said it was a crude bomb. Rest house inmates and staff ran for safety. In the melee, occupants of room number 110 tried to flee. But Vicky could not walk as he had injured a leg and thigh.
The police caught one of the four fleeing criminals near Machhuatoli. His identity was ascertained from his Aadhaar card, found on the spot. A country-made pistol and a bag were recovered from the room.
Bhojpur superintendent of police (SP) Avkash Kumar said anti-terrorism squad (ATS) sleuths of the state police and other intelligence agencies were interrogating Jitendra, a native of Jagdalpur police station under Barrackpore police commissionerate of Bengal.
Jitendra said he and his aides alighted from Vibhuti Express at Ara railway junction in the morning and reached the rest house. A bomb went off when Vicky was giving it final touches. Jitendra had hired the four from Bengal to get his cousin Harendra Kumar Singh of Ganghar village in Bhojpur eliminated.
The Bhojpur SP clarified Jitendra’s family shifted to Bengal three decades ago, but he owned a plot in Ganghar village. Jitendra had made a murderous attack on Harendra in May in which he was made a named accused. “He was since looking to kill Harendra,” the SP told The Telegraph.
Inspector-general (Patna zone) Nayyar Hasnain Khan ruled out any terror angle.
“Preliminary investigation shows Jitendra had brought four criminals from Bengal to settle scores with a close relative, who was living at Ganghar village. Jitendra was evading arrest in a case lodged by his cousin’s family,” he said.
He said members of the bomb disposal squad and forensic experts visited the spot and gathered evidence. “The police are investigating the case from different angles. So far no evidence related to any terror group’s involvement has been found,” IG Khan said.
Additional director-general (headquarters) S.K. Singhal said Bihar police were in touch with their counterparts in Bengal to get more information about the arrested persons. “Raids are underway to nab the remaining three accused, who escaped soon after the blast,” he said, adding that the dharmashala’s register had been seized.
Most occupants of the rest house, who were present at the time of the blast, were door-to-door vendors. The police later quizzed them.
Courtesy: The Telegraph