M A I N   N E W S

Terror hits Delhi HC,11 killed
l Briefcase bomb rips through court’s reception area on busy day; 90 injured
l Deadly explosive PETN mixed with nitrate used; NIA takes over probe
Sandeep Yadav/TNS

New Delhi, September 7
A high intensity briefcase bomb exploded outside the Delhi High Court today morning killing 11 people and injuring 90 in a major terror attack that struck the National Capital after a gap of three years.

The blast occurred at 10.15 am in the reception area outside Gate No. 5 of the Delhi High Court on the Sher Shah Suri road, barely 300 metres from the iconic India Gate. The court is spread over an area of around 4.57 acres and over 5,000 people visit it every day.

Terrorists chose a Wednesday as it is the heaviest day of court business since PILs are taken up. Around 200 visitors, mostly litigants, had queued up to get passes to enter the premises. Several lawyers were also present at that time.

Lawyers and litigants with blood soaked clothes ran helter-skelter and chaos broke out after the deafening explosion in the heart of the Capital, which could be heard even one kilometre away. Some complained of hearing loss.

Severed limbs and pieces of flesh lay strewn on the ground where there were pools of blood after the deafening explosion that created a 2x3 feet crater outside the reception area. Nails were also found at the explosion site. These when mixed with explosives act like shrapnel and fly in all directions causing maximum impact.

Since the briefcase was kept on the ground at the time of the explosion, several people are reported to have lost their legs or suffered severe injuries of the lower body.

Eyewitnesses suggested that the bomber may have queued up at the reception gate for entry passes and left the briefcase in which the bomb was hidden. Police suspect that one of the bombers could be among the dead or injured, indicating a suicide bombing. Special Commissioner (law and order) Dharmendra Kumar said the police is verifying the antecedents of each of the dead and injured.

CCTVs to monitor visitors were not reportedly installed. “There is a camera on this gate but it is facing inside and does not capture the scene outside. Terrorists seem to know this,” said advocate Shyam Sharma. The Delhi PWD had been tasked with installing the cameras.

Initial forensic reports suggested that "nitrate-based explosive" laced with PETN, one of the most powerful explosives in the world, was used. Some quantities of ammonium nitrate were also found. PETN, short for pentaerythritol trinitrate, is one of the most deadly explosive which is used by terrorists across the globe.

Its use was found in the shoe bomber case of 2001 in the US, in 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot in the Philippines, and in the 2010 cargo plane bomb plot in London and Dubai. It can also be mixed with RDX though no traces of RDX have been found so far at the blast site.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that more than 2kg of nitrate-based explosive, with traces of PETN has been used in the blast,” said Secretary (Internal Security) UK Bansal.

Investigators said no wires or timer had been found, indicating that a professional was at work. The blast could have been triggered off by a remote device or even a simcard-based device.

The Delhi Police has released the sketches of two suspects. While one is said to be in the age-group of 25-29, the other is around 50. An injured eyewitness described one of the suspects as a clean shaven, smart man in a white shirt.

A small, low intensity non-fatal blast that occurred in May this year at the high court is now being seen as a dry-run to today’s terror attack.

The last major blast in the National Capital was on September 13, 2008 when five bombs went off within minutes at various locations. (With agency inputs) 





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