Buddha, Paswan escape landmine blast in West Bengal (Lead)November 2nd, 2008 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Nov 2 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had a close shave Sunday as suspected Maoists triggered a landmine blast on the route of their convoy in West Midnapore district, leaving six policemen injured.The state police said a high-intensive landmine went off at Kalaichandi culvert near Bhadutala when the ministers were returning from the groundbreaking ceremony of a 10 million tonne mega steel plant being set up by JSW Bengal Steel in the Maoist-hit Shalboni area.
Both Bhattacharjee and Paswan were unhurt in the blast.
Bhattacharjee ordered a highest-level probe into the ambush.
“Six policemen were injured, two of them critically, in the landmine explosion. There would be a highest-level enquiry into the matter. State Home Secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty has already ordered a probe and asked Director General of Police A.B. Vora to spearhead the investigation,” Bhattacharjee said.
He said: “The injured police personnel have already been taken to the rural hospitals and would soon be shifted to Kolkata for treatment.”
A bomb disposal squad and a huge contingent of police, led by senior state police officers, reached the spot. The police also cordoned off the entire area and launched a search operation in the district.
“The pilot car (West Bengal Police pilot car no-II) of Ram Vilas Paswan’s convoy was hit by the blast. The injured policemen were taken to the nearest hospital,” Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Kuldeep Singh told IANS.
Police said the wire, which was connected to the landmine, was spread over a stretch of more than two km covering seven small villages including Kukunia, Heranichati, Dhansokha and Dalua.
The landmine was planted by the side of the metalled road.
“We’re now interrogating the villagers in that area to zero in on the suspects. Chemical analysis would also be carried out later to determine the nature of the blast,” a senior state police officer said.