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Powder Found in UP Assembly Wasn't Sent To Agra Lab: Govt

The Uttar Pradesh police website, however, says that the Agra lab has an explosives division.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18.com@qazifarazahmad

Updated:July 19, 2017, 2:38 PM IST
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Powder Found in UP Assembly Wasn't Sent To Agra Lab: Govt
File photo of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Assembly. (Getty Images)
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Lucknow: The white powder found in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has caused quite a confusion. Initially, it was supposed to be powerful explosive PETN, but reports from the Agra forensic lab found no traces of explosive. The Yogi Adityanath government has now clarified that the sample was not sent to Agra lab, instead tests were conducted in the Lucknow lab and preliminary reports confirmed the presence of a nitrate.

“The sample wasn’t sent to Agra as they don’t have the wherewithal to conduct the tests. The factual position is that SFSL Lucknow has found the substance to be water insoluble. Different reagents confirm the presence of a nitrate, preliminary tests using explosive detection kit were positive for PETN,” said the Principal Secretary (Home).

The officer said results of two confirmatory tests conducted by the Lucknow lab are expected on Thursday.

The Uttar Pradesh police website, however, says that the Agra lab has an explosives division. “An explosive division was sanctioned for undertaking the examination of explosive material. This division started functioning at Agra in the year 1987. It is expected to cater to the needs of all the districts in the state,” says the website.

IG ATS, Aseem Arun, said tests are usually being done by two labs for a reliable report. “We have sent the sample to Lucknow Forensic Lab. It is not our concern that from which of their lab they are conducting the tests. ATS always gets the tests done from two labs, now the sample will be sent to Hyderabad Forensic Lab,” he said.

According to sources, all the experts who conducted the tests at Lucknow are not experts. While the sources said the report at Agra laboratory was prepared by a panel with expertise in examining explosives.

On July 12, around 60 grams of the PETN was detected near Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary’s seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly by the dog squad during a security sweep, following which a forensic investigation was launched.

Speaking in the Assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called for an NIA investigation. “The National Investigation Agency (NIA) should investigate the matter. A response team to act on such threats should also be immediately put in place. It should have been done a long time ago,” the CM said.

Pentaerythritol tetranitrate or PETN can easily dodge metal detectors and its colourless crystals are hard to detect in sealed containers. It is a powerful explosive, 100 gram of which is enough to blow up a car to pieces, say experts.
| Edited by: Swati Sharma
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