This Article is From Sep 14, 2015

48 Hours on, No Sign of Man Accused in Madhya Pradesh Blast

48 Hours on, No Sign of Man Accused in Madhya Pradesh Blast

Over 90 people were killed in a powerful explosion in Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh (Press Trust of India photo)

Bhopal: More than two days after the blast in Madhya Pradesh that killed over 90 people, police are yet to track down the man allegedly responsible - Rajendra Kasawa. While his house remained locked, the police have found 69 detonators during a search at the house of his brother Narendra Kasawa.

It was a similar stash of illegal explosives at Rajendra Kasawa's shop that caused the Friday's blast in the town of Petlawad, the police have said. He was into mining business and had allegedly stocked over 100 gelatine sticks.  

The district surrounding Petlawad is home to a number of manganese and bauxite mines. But while gelatine sticks are used for controlled detonation during mining, it is illegal to store them at shops and homes.

Friday's explosion tore through a restaurant that stood next to Rajendra Kasawa's shop, where labourers had sat down for breakfast during the morning rush hour. Scores of labourers waiting at a bus stop outside were also hit by the debris.

"Rajendra and his two brothers had the license to use explosives but not to stock them," a police officer told NDTV. "Rajendra managed to escape while the police were busy with rescue operations but a manhunt is now on."

An officer has been suspended for failing to enforce the laws on storage, reported Agence France Presse, quoting Additional Police Superintendent Seema Alva.

The families of the victims, meanwhile, told Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan - who were visiting them for the second straight day - that they wanted justice, not compensation.

The state government has already announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh on any information leading to Rajendra Kasawa's arrest.  The National Investigation Agency, which looks into terror cases, has also visited the blast site.

The local unit of the Congress has accused the BJP of providing patronage to Kaswa. The ruling party has denied having any link to the man and has alleged that the Congress is politicising the issue.