Tiruchy: The Army headquarters at Chennai is probing the blast in an iron scrap shop at Pothamettupatti village near Manaparai on June 29, amid reports that the explosion that killed a worker and grievously injured three others was caused by a stolen military rocket shell that was sold as scrap by some army men. Unconfirmed reports said a team of Army officers, camping at Trichy for the last few days to probe the blast, has seized 24 blank rocket shells from the scrap shop. The investigators are waiting for show-owner Arulanandam to come out of his coma for confirming reports that two uniformed army men had sold some blank shells as scrap to him.
Preliminary findings in police and forensic investigation indicated that the blast was caused when the deceased Mariappan tried to break down one of the shells, believing it was just another piece of metal scrap, and it exploded. Police believe that the shell was part of the little stock that the two military men sold to the scrap shop after smuggling it out of the military ammunition used during the rocket-firing practice conducted at nearby Veeramalai fiing range for three days from June 24.