Bhagalpur blast toll mounts to 14 (Ld)

At least 14 persons have been killed and many others injured following a powerful explosion in a house in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, the police said on Friday.

Bihar DGP S.K. Singhal said the main accused in the case has been identified as Leelawati Devi, who along with her family members used to manufacture illegal firecrackers in the house. Leelawati and four of her family members were killed in the blast.

“We have recovered 14 bodies from the debris so far, and rescue operations are still on. Ten persons have been injured in the explosion, who are battling for their lives at the Mayaganj Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur. Four adjacent buildings have been completely destroyed by the explosion that took place in Kajawali Chak village under Tatarpur police station,” Singhal said.

“The explosion took place during the manufacturing of illegal firecrackers in the house by Leelawati Devi on Thursday at around 11.30 pm. She was making crackers without any licence. Five of her family members, including herself, died in the explosion,” he added.

“Leelawati was initially owning the building where the explosion took place. She had sold it recently and was living there with her family on rent,” Singhal said.

The officer said that the main accused was a serial offender. Similar explosions had taken place there twice, in 2018 and 2020.

Besides the family members of Leelawati, three members of Mahendra Mandal’s family were also killed in the explosion. Mandal’s house is located next Leelawati’s house.

“We have seized a large amount of explosives, explosive materials and rappers from the spot,” he said.

“The local police were well aware of the alleged activities of Leelawati and her family members, but they didn’t take any preventive measures. Hence, we have suspended the SHO of Tatarpur — Sudhanshu Kumar — with immediate effect,” Singhal said.

The officer further said that as the matter is sensitive, the ATS has been directed to investigate the case to find out any possible terror angle.


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