Six arrested, 10 detained, Maoists suspected for Salboni explosion

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Midnapore, Nov 3 (UNI) Altogether six people have been arrested so far, while 10 others detained in connection with the landmine explosion at Salboni in West Midnapore district.

Addressing a press conference here today, Director General of Police (DGP) Anup Bhushan Bhora said, ''A high-level committee, comprising senior police officials, reached the explosion site during the day and started its investigation. Six people have been arrested while 10 detained in this connection.'' Chief Security Advisor A K Maliwal and other senior police officials were assisting the enquiry while forensic teams also reached the place.

''The nature of the explosion and all sides of security lapse are being probed and if any police official is found to have been negligent in his duty, appropriate action will be taken up,'' the DGP said.

''New types of explosives and splinters, which had never been used earlier, were used in the landmine. It is suspected that Maoist ultras were responsible for the incident,'' Mr Maliwal said.

A team of forensic experts, headed by DIG (CID) Shibnath Gupta, was presently investigating the site to ascertain the nature of explosion, and type of chemicals used and will submit a report to the state government by this evening.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had a narrow escape yesterday when suspected Maoists triggered a blast below a bridge where their convoys were passing.

Five policemen, including the driver of the last car of Mr Paswan's convoy were seriously injured.

The incident occurred on National Highway 60 at Kalaichandi Khal under Salboni police station, eight km from Midnapore.

The Chief Minister's convoy was followed by that of the Union Minister for Steel, Fertilisers and Chemicals. The explosion occurred when Mr Paswan's car had crossed the bridge. The last of the police pilot car, referred to as the tail car, bore the brunt of the blast, suspected to have been caused by a landmine.

Mr Bhattacharjee and Mr Paswan had come to Salboni, a Maoist stronghold, to inaugurate the country's largest steel project of JSW Bengal Steel.

The incident occurred despite the deployment of some 1,200 policemen, including RAF, SAP and EFR in view of the VIP visit.

UNI XC DPM DB RN1728

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