Rohini court blast: DRDO scientist planted explosive to ‘kill neighbour’; wife’s illness, court fine drove him over edge

The police said Kataria planted the IED to eliminate Vashishtha as he was highly frustrated due to the protracted legal battles which were impacting his career and causing mental and financial distress to him and his family.

Police said that the accused Bharat Bhushan Kataria had a grudge against his neighbour, Amit Vashistha, which prompted him to plan this blast. (Express Photo)

A senior DRDO scientist has been arrested for allegedly planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in a tiffin box with an intention to kill his neighbour in the Rohini district court here earlier this month, Delhi Police said on Saturday.

Police said that the accused Bharat Bhushan Kataria had a grudge against his neighbour, Amit Vashistha, which prompted him to plan this blast. Vashistha had filed a criminal case against Kataria and during the hearings on November 1, the court fined Kataria Rs 1,000 for “unnecessary adjournment”.

The police said Kataria planted the IED to eliminate Vashishtha as he was highly frustrated due to the protracted legal battles which were impacting his career and causing mental and financial distress to him and his family.

Getting fined for not appearing before court; his wife being detected with cancer; having to pay Rs 50,000 rent; and the possibility of facing criminal charges are among the factors, the police believe, drove the scientist over the edge.

During investigation, it emerged that one Anil Kataria, brother-in-law of the accused, was a director of sales and marketing in the same company which distributed bags identical to the one used to conceal IED. Anil had given some of these black bags to his relatives, including Kataria, police said.

Stationery shops which sold the kind of file cover found in the bag with the IED were identified and examined, a senior police officer said, as were the distributors of automotive anti-theft mechanism used in the IED. During investigation, more than 1,000 vehicles that entered court complex on the day of the blast were verified and examined, along with more than 100 CCTV cameras inside and outside court complex. CCTV footages from all such cameras running into thousands of hours were scanned repeatedly multiple teams, as were volumes of telephonic data relevant to the crime, the officer said.

Based on CCTV footages and eyewitness accounts, several people present in the court complex were identified and Kataria’s name came up, police said.

His case was listed for hearing on the day of the blast. His opposite party and intended victim, advocate Amit Vashistha was seated in the row next to which the IED exploded.

From the investigation conducted so far, it has emerged that Kataria and Vashistha lived in the same building till around three years ago. They have a dispute that goes back more than 10 years and both have filed over a dozen civil and criminal cases against each other, police said. Five civil cases were filed by Kataria against the lawyer, while the lawyer filed seven civil cases against Kataria, police said.

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