J&K cricketer detained; CLT20 matches delayed

A Jammu and Kashmir cricketer was on Saturday detained after traces of RDX was found in his kit bag but was subsequently released for lack of any evidence.

updated: October 17, 2009 11:51 IST
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A Jammu and Kashmir cricketer was on Saturday detained after traces of RDX was found in his kit bag but was subsequently released for lack of any evidence, prompting nervous organisers of the Champions League to delay the start of its Twenty20 matches.

The detention of Parvez Rasool, an Under-22 cricketer from militancy-hit state, threw the police into a tizzy with two League A matches of the high-profile tournament being scheduled in the M Chinnaswamy stadium where the player was staying.

Rasool, who hails from Brijbehara in South Kashmir, was detained after detectors found traces of RDX explosive in his kit bag during a routine security check this morning at the stadium where the state team was staying, prompting the authorities to get his background check done from home state.

Additional Police Commissioner (Law and Order and Security) M R Pujar said after a thorough check of the stadium, police declared the ground to be safe for the matches to take place.

"Following a regulation security sweep of M Chinnaswamy Stadium this morning, police was called to investigate a suspicious bag.

"A young man was taken for questioning by police but he has subsequently been released without charge. Police and security experts have checked the stadium twice, as well as the suspicious bag, but nothing of concern has been found. As a result, the stadium has been given the all-clear for tonight's matches to proceed," Pujar said in a statement.

Earlier, Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari said they detained the owner of the bag as they were in no mood to take any chances with international cricketers playing in the on-going Champions League.

"Though we have not found any explosives in the bag, we suspect that some residue of the explosive may be in the bag which may have been used in the past for carrying explosives or transporting them elsewhere," Bidari told reporters.

"We have seized the bag and detained the owner, Parvez Rasool, a first year BA student from in Anantnag district of J&K for questioning," he said.

Bidari said the the state police have already sent a request to its counterparts in J&K to do a background check on the player.

In a related development, Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association secretary Saleem Khan said nothing has been found from the player picked up by the police for questioning.

However, Bidari said an explosive detection equipment placed in the stadium had been emitting signals since last night, indicating that there were some explosives within 300 metre radius of the ground.

"The authorities immediately informed the police who found that the signals were emanating from room number 105 of the stadium's guest house, where Rasool was staying," he said. "When the police team went inside the room, the signals were traced to a bag. The bag was thoroughly searched but no explosives were found.

"Police did not want to take any chance and therefore detained Rasool for questioning," he said and added that the entire stadium, including the spectator's gallery, was searched as a precautionary measure.

"Since the check has not indicated any explosives so far, we have decided to permit the Champions League match to go on under stringent security arrangements," Bidari said.

The incident forced the organisers to delay the start of the Champions League match between Cape Cobras and Victoria Bushrangers till police authorities gave the all clear signal.

The first match, originally scheduled to start at 1600 hrs IST, was delayed by alkmost two hours, which meant the next game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils would also start late.

Because of the delayed start, the first match between Cape Cobras and Victoria Bushrangers was reduced to a 17-over-a-side affair.