Chandigarh police went into a tizzy on Tuesday when they received information about a bomb threat in the district court complex here. However, after a thorough search, police found it to be a hoax. The district court complex on Tuesday afternoon was evacuated after a bomb threat information received by the Chandigarh police, but no suspicious item was found post a thorough check of the complex, officials said.
Searches were launched at Sector 43, ISBT-43 and in District Courts, Panchkula, following a handwritten letter stating that there would be a blast by 1pm at ISBT-43, District Courts, Sector 43, and District courts, Panchkula on Tuesday. The letter was affixed on a bathroom wall near the Advocates’ Chambers in District Court Complex, Sector 1, in Panchkula, around 9.30am. The letter stated, “There will be an explosive in 43 bus stands, 43 court and Panchkula court by 1.30pm. I brought them here in my car. But I am an Indian. My car is full.”
Within minutes, both court complexes in Chandigarh and Panchkula were evacuated and the movements of the buses in ISBT-43 were put on halt. Central agencies, including IB personnel also rushed to the spot. Later, a Bomb Disposal Squad (BSD) of Indian Army from the Chandimandir area was also called at the District Courts, Sector 43, where a suspected carry bag, with a tiffin box with food and water bottle was found. A precautionary search operation was conducted at Punjab and Haryana high court also.
The entire exercise took at least eight hours. Sources said more than 800 people, including judges, clerical staff, prisoners and visitors were evacuated from the Sector 43 court complex premises. Heavy police force was deployed in the area and bomb disposal and dog squads rushed to the spot, besides members of the riot control team, anti-terrorist squad, district crime cell, crime branch and police forensic team. ACP (Panchkula) Surinder Kumar Yadav said, “Though Chandigarh was not mentioned in the letter, 43 bus stand and 43 court are in Sector 43, Chandigarh. We found the letter and sounded an alert to Chandigarh. So far, our checking operation is going on. We have not found any suspicious objects in Panchkula. We appeal to the general public to not touch any abandoned object.”
SSP (Security/traffic), Chandigarh, Manisha Chaudhary said, “The entire area was evacuated. A carry bag containing a tiffin and a water bottle was found. BDS of Chandigarh police and Punjab police checked it and found nothing unusual. We also called the BDS of the Army from Chandimandir to again cross-checked it from the defense authorities.” A BDS team of Defense authority was at the court complex 43.
Advocate Rajinder Pandey said, “We were in the courtroom number-20 when a police personnel came and told us to evacuate the courtroom. They also urged the courtroom staff to leave the court complex as soon as possible. ADJ Swati Sehgal made sure that everyone left the courtroom then she moved out of the court. Initially, the police also evacuated the advocates from the Advocate Chambers’ but later they allowed advocates to go to their chambers. There was no entry for anyone in the court premises.”
Advocate Harish Bhardwaj said, “We were asked to leave the courtrooms. The judges, clerical staff and other employees of district courts in Sector 43 were also asked to leave. We are in our chambers. More than 100 police personnel are checking the court complex using different equipment.”
DGP (UT) Praveer Ranjan, DIG (UT) Ram Kumar Singh, officiating SSP (UT) Manisha Chaudhary, SP Ketan Bansal, SP Shruti Area rushed to the District Courts, Sector 43. Meanwhile, DCP (Panchkula) Sumer Pratap Singh along with other Panchkula police officers checked the Panchkula district courts.