Police baffled as Delhi search reveals no trace of bomb

New Delhi (Reuter) - Indian police said yesterday that no trace of explosive material had been found in the debris of the collapsed guest house in which 17 people were killed, including two Britons.

Police said investigators, who used sniffer dogs to examine the rubble of the four-storey building, doubted that a bomb caused the damage, although they had not ruled it out.

The building caved in on Saturday evening in Paharganj, an area of cheap hotels in New Delhi, injuring Viscount Weymouth, 21, heir to the Marquess of Bath, and killing his girlfriend Jane Kirby, 29, and his business partner, Crinan Wilde, 28.

Miss Kirby lived in Putney, south-west London, where she had worked in a variety of jobs including selling perfume. Her parents now live in the south of France. Mr Wilde, whose family live in Kingston on Soar, Nottinghamshire, had founded two companies last year and Lord Weymouth had joined him as a business partner.

Brijesh Gupta, a senior police official, said: "We cannot possibly say this was a bomb or a gas explosion or any other thing. We are keeping our options open."

Mr Gupta added that none of the victims had injuries typical of a bomb blast. "Normally bodies are ripped open, blackened and full of splinters. But all of these people died of blunt force as they were buried in the debris." Not one pane of glass in a nearby building only 15ft away was damaged.

Only one victim had burn injuries and his body smelled of kerosene. One of the survivors, a Dutchman, said he smelled gas but had not heard the deafening noise which bomb blasts usually cause.

Police said the blast also claimed three Nigerian men, two French nationals among the eight foreigners who died. None of the other victims was identified.

Two separatist groups claimed responsibility, saying they wanted to stop the Indian election. Voting begins on Saturday and ends on 30 May in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, authorities said they had never heard of the Islami Harkat-ul- Momineen, the group which issued a statement from Kashmir yesterday claiming responsibility for the blast. The statement was jointly signed by the Khalistan Liberation Force and said the bomb had been triggered by remote control and was part of an attempt to stop the elections. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be the first since 1989. The Himalayan state has been under federal rule since a separatist revolt in 1990. More than 20,000 people have died in the conflict.

Police were questioning a large number of people, including foreigners who survived the blast, but had made no arrests, Mr Gupta said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; Moorgate up to £23k

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; ...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Sales Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are looking for enthusias...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Executive - UK / International

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible