Tamil Nadu police have concluded that the death of two persons near a temple pond in Kancheepuram district was due to the explosion of a 51-mm fuse ignitor. In addition to this they have also found an 84-mm anti-tank shell on the premises. While initial investigations suggest that the parts could have been abandoned near the Gangai Amman temple's pond by a scrap dealer, the police are yet to determine the original source of the explosive material.
"The part which exploded was a fuse ignitor," an investigating officer tells TNM. "This is used to launch rockets. It was buried in the mud and when the victims found it they playfully tried to break and see what was inside. Due to the continuous action, it exploded," he adds.
According to the police, it was likely to have been collected by a scrap dealer who conducted his affairs in the locality for one and a half years. The anti tank shell, says ASP Badhrinarayanan, belongs to the Carl Gustaf Rocket Launcher and is used by the army.
"If the shell had exploded the consequences would have been far graver," says the ASP.
The police is investigating whether the two explosive devices were picked up by scrap dealers from the nearby Hanumanthapuram firing range, used to train army cadets.
"The scrap dealer left from here only 6 months back and we will talk to him as well," says an investigating officer. He further admits that it is dangerous for such material to have been casually dealt by non-technical and civilian scrap dealers.
The police have however ruled out any suspicions of terror activity or conspiracy.
The explosion happened at 3.30 pm on Sunday and killed two persons while three others were injured. The injured including Tirumal, Yuvaraj and Jayaram were admitted to the government hospital, the police said. They are still in critical condition.
According to one report in The Hindu, the incident took place near an unused temple pond in Manampathi. Residents reportedly enlisted the help of a private firm to desilt the unused pond. The newspaper reports, however, that on Sunday, no one was at work and it is yet to be established how the six men were in the vicinity.