The accused have been identified as Arumugam (28) of Thalayuthu and Saleem (22) of Pettai, Tirunelveli, sources said. The duo was said to have secretly placed a couple of pipe bombs on the premises of the cement factory on Tuesday night with intent to extort money by threatening the factory personnel. The private cement factory which engaged workers on regular and contract basis had recently terminated some of the latter following instructions from the state government that the plant should function with minimum work force due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
According to police, the factory officials had received a phone call demanding payment of Rs 50 lakh to the terminated workers, with the unidentified callers threatening to plant bombs in five places in the factory if the demand was not met. On Tuesday night, the bomb squad which was subsequently pressed into service recovered the two pipe bombs. Police added the bomb would be inspected in detail before being defused.
An FIR has been filed in connection with the incident, police said. Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police N Manivanan visited the factory and held enquiries. Meanwhile, the factory employees have been asked to stay at home due to these developments.