By Ujwal Jalali
New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS): The National Security Guard and the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Friday averted a major terror attack in the Ghazipur Flower Market area of the national capital by defusing a 3-kg Improvised Explosive Device planted in the crowded market.
The IED, which was found concealed in an unattended bag at the Ghazipur Flower Market, triggered panic among the residents of the capital less than a fortnight ahead of January 26, Republic Day.
But how did the police find it?
The bag was first spotted by a local vendor, however, he did not pay any heed to it and left. When he returned after sometime, the bag was still there after which he informed a civil defence volunteer in the area who then made a PCR call around 10.16 a.m. The Delhi Fire Service (DFS) was also informed at the same time. A DFS official confirmed to IANS that they received a call around 10.20 a.m. about an unattended bag at the Ghazipur Flower Market after which one fire engine was rushed to the spot.
With suspicions mounting the Delhi Police alerted the anti-terror force -- NSG -- about the suspicious object around 11 a.m. which sent its bomb disposal squad equipped with a bomb disposal container called Total Containment Vessel (TVC).
The NSG is a world class federal contingency force which deals with anti-terrorist activities in all its manifestations.
The Delhi Police deployed its anti-terror unit, the Special Cell, to deal with the situation. Over 30 policemen, wearing a green jacket having 'Special Cell' printed on it, swarmed the entire area. The police cordoned off the area for the safety and security of the people. Heavy police presence in and around the area made things look very serious at that time. The NSG personnel, wearing the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) suit or bomb suit, were also at the spot.
Then the NSG bomb disposal squad with the help of the police personnel dug an approximately 8 feet ditch in an open ground where the bag carrying the IED was dumped. At sharp 1.30 p.m. a loud thud was heard after which everybody heaved a sigh of relief. The NSG conducted a controlled explosion of the recovered IED in that ditch, saving several lives that could have been snuffed out if the bomb had not been found and defused in time.
National Security Guard Director General MA Ganapathy speaking exclusively to IANS said that the explosives-laden bag contained a mixture of RDX and Ammonium Nitrate. "Prima facie it looks like RDX & Ammonium Nitrate mix weighing around 3 kgs," Ganapathy informed. He added that they have shared all the details of the chemical composition of the explosive material with the Delhi Police.
The Delhi Police immediately handed over the case to its Special Cell which detects, prevents and investigates cases of terrorism, organized crime and other serious offences in Delhi. The Special Cell has registered a case under relevant provisions of the Explosives Act.
The preliminary probe has so far revealed that the bomb was kept inside an iron box which was then carefully concealed in a black bag. Sources privy to the probe told IANS that a timer was also attached to the improvised explosive device. The police are currently examining all the CCTV footage from the area.
Interestingly, it was learnt that a huge camera was already in place at the entrance gate of the Ghazipur Flower Market, but the camera's focus was not towards the spot where the explosives-laden bag was kept. "The forensic teams have also collected evidence from the spot and taken it for examination," an official said. However, the forensic report may take at least two weeks to come.
"It is being suspected that the conspirators might have done a recce before planting the bomb at the spot," official sources said, adding that the CCTV footage is of vital importance in this case.
Sources said the police in the national capital were already on alert in view of Republic Day on January 26. "Such events can be used by anti-national elements having nefarious designs to carry out terror attacks in the city," a top official had told IANS recently.
In September, 2021, the Delhi Police Special Cell had busted a big terror module of the ISI and the underworld and arrested 8 Pakistan-trained terrorists from several places in the country. The arrested terrorists were planning to carry out terror attacks in the country during this festival season.
A month later in October, another Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) trained terrorist was arrested from the Laxmi Nagar area of Delhi. The police had recovered an AK 47 rifle along with several other arms and ammunition from him.