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Rohini court blast: DRDO scientist arrested, claims drank harpic to kill self

A 47-YEAR-OLD DRDO scientist has been arrested in connection with the recent incident at Delhi’s Rohini district court complex, with police accusing him of planting the bomb to kill his lawyer neighbour.

Bharat Bhushan Kataria, who has worked for the DRDO for 20 years, was found with a robe similar to that worn by attorneys, as well as other “incriminating” evidence, according to Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.

Kataria and his alleged target, Amit Vashisht, resided in the same building in Ashok Vihar until three years ago, police said, and had a long-running spat over use of the common terrace. According to preliminary investigations, Vashisht had filed a criminal complaint against Kataria, and the court was set to hear the framing of charges on the day of the bomb, which Kataria felt would damage his career.

Kataria, who was married and has two children, was also the DRDO’s contact officer with other agencies, according to officials.

“He and Vashisht have been in a long-running feud for over a decade, and they’ve filed over a dozen civil and criminal complaints against each other,” said DCP (Special Cell) Rajiv Ranjan Singh. “Kataria placed a bag containing an IED behind Vashisht and triggered the IED from a safe distance with a remote on the day of the blast,” he continued.

A Delhi Police Constable was injured in the low-intensity bomb, but there were no fatalities or significant damage. The circuit of the bomb housed in a tiffin had not been assembled properly, resulting in only the detonator going off and not the half kilogramme ammonium nitrate-based explosives, according to forensic experts and the National Security Guard (NSG).

The findings also suggested that the assailant made the IED out of readily available materials, according to Singh. “The IED’s components were located among the wreckage, and the bag in which the IED was packed was traced to a medical equipment multinational.” The company’s distributors were investigated, according to the DCP.

Asthana stated they found “many file covers, identical to those found in the IED bag, comparable screws used as shrapnel in the IED, and remains of a black adhesive tape used in manufacturing the IED” inside Kataria’s home.

A team led by ACP Ved Prakash reviewed over 100 CCTV cameras and checked over a thousand vehicles that entered the court complex on the day of the explosion. “Kataria’s name came up as a person of interest, and we discovered that his case was scheduled for a hearing the day of the explosion. Amit Vashisht, his opponent, was seated in the row next to where the IED went off,” Singh added.

Kataria was seen entering the court complex at 9.33 a.m. on December 9 wearing a black coat and trousers resembling an advocate’s and carrying a bag in his hand and a laptop bag on his back, according to surveillance footage. He was seen entering the court through Gate No. 7, concealing the bags outside a food establishment on the court grounds, and exiting through the same gate a short time later. He entered from Gate No. 8 after five minutes and grabbed the two bags from outside the shop. He was caught on camera inside the main courthouse, and he left around 10.35 a.m. from Gate No. 8 with the laptop bag on his back but no other bag,” Singh said.

During interrogation, Kataria said that he was able to persuade security authorities that he did not want the bag containing his tiffin (in which the bomb was allegedly hidden) to be put through the X-ray machine.

Kataria’s brother-in-law worked as Director, Sales and Marketing for a multinational medical equipment firm that distributes bags identical to the one in which the IED was hidden, according to investigations. The suitcases had been distributed to many relatives, including Kataria, according to Singh.

What is the situation now?

Today, it was reported that Bhushan Kataria, the perpetrator of the IED blast in Rohini court, claimed to have eaten Harpic while in the custody of the Delhi Police Special Cell.

Sources claim that a shocked The scientist was taken to Ambedkar Hospital and subsequently to AIIMS by Delhi Police. The scientist is fine, according to police sources, and they believe he did not swallow the disinfection liquid.

Furthermore, according to police sources, Kataria is constantly deceiving officers during interrogation. “Looks like me,” the scientist answered when asked if he was in the lawyer’s robe captured on CCTV footage.

“I don’t remember anything,” he stated when authorities inquired where he was following the blast. More details are yet to surface.

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