Santosh Kumar Agrahari arrested with bag full of explosives found inside Allahabad HC

Allahabad: A plastic bag full of explosives was found inside the high-security Allahabad High Court premises, sending authorities into a tizzy, even as police claimed to have arrested a man who had allegedly kept the packet at the spot and later raised an alarm with the hope of getting rewarded with a permanent job for his “alertness”.

Addressing a press conference this evening, Senior Superintendent of Police, Allahabad, Shalabh Mathur said Santosh Kumar Agrahari (38), who had been running errands at the High Court on an ad hoc basis for over a decade, was arrested based on of CCTV footage of last night wherein his movements appeared to be “furtive and suspicious”.

“We therefore took Agrahari into custody for interrogation though he happened to be the one who had raised an alarm about the plastic bag lying inside a court room. He confessed that he had himself prepared the packet, kept it at the spot and later raised an alarm with the hope that he would be appreciated for his alertness and rewarded with a permanent job at the high court,” Mr Mathur said.

“Agrahari, who hails from Amethi and lives here with his family, has claimed that he was badly in need of stable employment. Acting out of desperation, he prepared the packet enclosing a lunch box which contained a plastic ball smeared with gunpowder – to make it look like a menacing bomb. He also placed inside the plastic bag some firecrackers for good measure,” Mr Mathur said.

“Besides, Agrahari has confessed to have hidden inside the packet the blade of a small knife which looked like a shrapnel. We are, nevertheless, sending all these items for forensic examination,” the SSP said.

Meanwhile, Mr Agrahari has been arrested and booked under the Explosives Act, the SSP added.

The sprawling high court campus has an elaborate security system in place with hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel keeping round-the-clock vigil with the help of more than 200 CCTV cameras.

Santosh Kumar Agrahari-Pic Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Santosh Kumar Agrahari-Pic Courtesy: Hindustan Times

No vehicle, four-wheeler or two-wheeler, is permitted inside the premises and though there is no restriction on visiting the branch of a public sector bank and a post office located inside, entry into any of the court rooms warrants a special pass issued by high court authorities.

Moreover, security arrangements inside the court are also monitored closely by a special seven-judge bench which was constituted last year with the aim of keeping a tab on safety mechanisms at all judicial bodies across Uttar Pradesh, including the Lucknow Bench of the high court and the district courts.