Six men were killed in a dynamite blast in Karnataka's Chikkabalapur district on Tuesday when they were allegedly trying to dispose of illegal explosives. M Chandrashekhar, Inspector General of police (central range), cited an initial investigation and added the explosives belonged to a legal quarry pulled up recently for violation of norms.
"It looks like some people had tried to dispose of illegal explosives and there was an accidental blast. Bomb detection and disposal team and forensic teams have arrived from Bengaluru. We will be able to finer details of the incident once their investigation is over," said Chandrashekhar.
An ambulance driver, who ferried the injured, said they received a call about the incident around 1.20 am. "We reached the location around 1.40 am. We were initially told it was an accident, but when we reached the location, we realised there was a blast and there were five people."
D Sudhakar, who is the minister in charge of the district, said the explosives belonged to the legal quarry that was closed down on February 7 for not storing explosives properly and not having an engineer at the site. "…we suspect that fearing further inspections, the owners must have got some employees to move the explosives to a forested area in Gudubande, around 2km away from the quarry," he said.
He added the explosives were moved using a mini-truck and two others have accompanied it on bikes. "...the bomb disposal team...said that even the signals from the mobile phones could have triggered the explosion. But they are investigating further," Sudhakar said.
Police have identified three owners of the quarry and legal action has begun.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths. "Pained by the loss of lives due to a mishap at Chikkaballapur in Karnataka. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover quickly: PM," he tweeted.
This is the second such blast in Karnataka in the last month. On January 22, eight people were killed in a dynamite blast at a railway crusher site in Shivamogga.