'Explosive' found in UP Assembly not PETN, says Agra lab; Adityanath govt denies sending it sample

A day after the Agra Forensic Science Laboratory said that the white powder found in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly was not an explosive, the Yogi Adityanath government said that it had not sent a sample to the laboratory at all, ANI has reported.

The Times of India quoted the state's principal secretary (home) as saying, "Reports in sections of media (have said) that in tests conducted at FSL Agra, the substance detected in UP Assembly hall is not PETN. This is to clarify that no sample (was) sent to FSL Agra of the substance as they don't have machines/wherewithal to conduct tests."

On Monday, officials at the Agra forensic laboratory had said that the white powder found at the scene was not an explosive.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier demanded a National Investigative Agency (NIA) investigation into a security breach in the state Assembly.

The Uttar Pradesh administration was rattled on 12 July after a packet of white powder was found near the seat of the Leader of Opposition, which the Lucknow forensic laboratory later claimed was a highly explosive material called Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN). The Opposition picked up the matter to corner the Adityanath government on the law and order situation in the state, even as security was tightened at the state legislature complex.

File image of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow. PTI

File image of Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow. PTI

However, according to CNN-News18, the Agra forensic laboratory, which was asked to reconfirm the reports by the Lucknow laboratory, has said that no traces of explosives were found in the given sample. The Agra forensic lab happens to be the only facility in state with expertise in examining explosives. The reports have been sent to NIA officials and the samples have also been sent to a forensic facility in Hyderabad for confirmation, according to The Times of India.

The news comes three days after another similar packet was discovered in the Assembly premise and rumours did rounds that it too was an explosive. However, the police on Saturday had dismissed the rumour.

Inspector General of Police, ATS, Aseem Arun had denied claims in some sections of the media that another explosive had been discovered, while the police identified the powder as magnesium sulphate, which is used as a drying agent in the plastic packaging industry.

Meanwhile, an official told IANS that some packets of paan masala and 'khaini' were found in the House, and had probably been kept by lawmakers for their consumption. Though this was not a security concern, it left the political fraternity red-faced as consumption of 'paan masala' is banned in public by the Yogi Adityanath government.

An FIR was lodged at the Hazratganj police station regarding the discovery of the explosive and the Anti Terror Squad is probing the matter.

The powder, now identified as magnesium sulphate, is also used in cosmetics or medicines, including those used for arthritis.  "It is possible that an MLA suffering from such a problem brought it to the Assembly ," The Times of India report quoted a police source as saying.


Published Date: Jul 18, 2017 10:05 am | Updated Date: Jul 18, 2017 10:52 am