New Delhi: One person died and three others were injured in a “high-grade” blast inside a washroom of the district and sessions court complex in Ludhiana, Punjab, Thursday afternoon.
According to police, the explosion took place around 12.30 pm on the second floor of the six-storey court complex and injured the people in the vicinity. Two walls of the washroom collapsed and a window was shattered because of the blast, they added.
Two teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) — one from Chandigarh and the other from the headquarters in Delhi — will be looking into the blast.
According to security sources, it appears to be a “suicide bombing”. The person who died in the blast has not yet been identified, the sources added. They said, however, that the nature of the bombing remains under investigation and added that the bomb could well have been planted.
Initial information suggests the middle part of the body was completely blown away, sources said. Police are not yet certain about the nature of the explosive.
“We have not yet been able to ascertain the nature of the explosive. We suspect that it could be an IED (improvised explosive device), but cannot say anything with certainty. A forensics team has been called to the spot. Explosives experts are also at the spot,” a police officer investigating the case said.
“The explosive was kept inside the men’s toilet. When it went off, only four or five people were around. While one person died, three have been shifted to the hospital,” the officer added. “They sustained burn wounds, but their condition is stable. Two more people escaped with minor injuries. A rescue operation is on. The security at the court has been stepped up and a cordon has been laid.”
The blast comes weeks before the state heads for assembly elections.
News agency PTI reported that Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi has said he will visit Ludhiana to take stock of the situation in light of the explosion.
CCTV footage being scanned
The Ludhiana police is in the process of registering a case in the matter. The CCTV footage in the court complex, including the entry and exit gates, is being scanned.
“We are also checking if the scanner at the entrance was working or not, or if the explosives were sneaked in from some other gate,” the officer said. “The CCTV footage from cameras across the gates in the complex and the ones installed on the second floor are being checked,” the officer added.