Mystery blast kills 1

One person was killed and three injured when an explosion tore through the ground floor of a caterer's residence at Pahadi Tola in Ranchi on Wednesday morning.

Though caterer Prakash Sharma claimed that the mishap occurred when an LPG cylinder exploded, police said no remnants of a burnt cylinder was found, instead they had recovered a pistol and a pump-like contraption meant for refilling cylinders.

Five daily wage earners, including a woman, were at work at Sharma's Keshav Nagar home in Pahadi Tola when the blast took place around 11.30am. They were preparing sweets for a wedding scheduled in the evening at Agrasen Bhavan, about 2km away.

"The explosion took place after a LPG cylinder kept on the ground floor of my home, which is used as godown, burst all of sudden," Sharma said.

However, contradicting him, deputy superintendent of police (city), S.P. Singh, said the reason behind the explosion could not be ascertained as nothing was found at the spot. "We did not find a burnt shell of a cylinder. Rather we recovered a 9mm pistol and a tool used for refilling cylinders," he said.

SP (city) Vipul Shukla also supported Singh and said the matter was being investigated and no reason behind the blast could be ascertained. Police sources hinted that the caterer might have been running an illegal cylinder refilling unit on the premises.

Sharma's neighbours appeared shocked at the incident.

Savitri Rajak, who lives next door, said the blast damaged the asbestos roof of her house and left cracks on her wall. A couple of window panes also shattered on impact.

Nari Sena president and another neighbour Poonam Singh said she rushed out as soon as she heard the blast and helped shift the injured to hospital.

No FIR had been registered till the time this report was filed.

Though the sari of the woman labourer caught fire, it was doused quickly and she did not suffer any serious injuries.

Sharma identified the labour who died as Bullu Ram, but could not provide any other detail as he had come in as a daily wage earner. Ram was declared brought dead at RIMS, where three others are undergoing treatment for burns.

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