Bomb scare at Vadodara Stock Exchange building

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Vadodara, Jul 31 (UNI) Panic gripped today the multi-storeyed Fortune tower, housing the Vadodara Stock Exchange (VSE), after it received a letter purportedly written by the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), threatening to blow up the building.

Soon after the receipt of the letter by the VSE authorites at around 1100 hrs, the stock business was virtually suspended and over 4,000 people, including brokers, present in the nine-storeyed building, were asked to vacate the premises.

The area was immediately cordoned off and a massive search operation was launched by about 100 policemen, bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs in the presence of Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana and other top police officials.

The threat turned to be a hoax after police found no bomb in their four-hour-long search operation.

Talking to UNI, VSE chairman Sudesh Shah said it was a five line threat letter written in Hindi in the name of ''Atankbadi Jehad SIMI''.

The letter, addressed to the VSE managing director, claimed that a bomb had been planted in the building, he said, adding that the letter was immediately handed over to the Sayajiganj police and all precaution taken to avert panic situation in the tower, as hundreds of people were inside the exchange building.

Following the incident, security has been further tightened at the Fortune Tower, the VSE chairman said after an emergent meeting on the issue.

Deputy commissioner of police (north) Gagandeep Gambhir, who supervised the search operation, said no objectionable thing was found during the search. However, an investigation had begun to trace the mischiefmonger who posted the threat letter in the name of SIMI.

Meanwhile, reports said the Headquarters of Bank of Baroda at Madvi chowk, offices of the two leading Gujarati dailies -- Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar, and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation's (GSRTC) central depo at Race Course here had also received similar bomb threats this afternoon.

Police force had rushed to all the four places to carry out search operation, the sources said.

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