A crude bomb exploded Friday in a courthouse in eastern India, killing two people and injuring 12 others, police said.

Senior police officer Gupteshwar Pandey said one of the dead was the woman who allegedly carried the bomb in a bag into the court in Arrah, a town 40 miles southwest of Patna, the capital of Bihar state.

Anil Kumar, a magistrate, said a policeman died later in a hospital and 12 others were being treated. Four were in serious condition.

He said the explosion occurred close to a cell where prisoners are kept before appearing in court.

Two of the prisoners escaped following the explosion, said R.K. Singh, a lawmaker who represents the region.

Singh said the blast appeared to be aimed at helping the prisoners escape.

Police are investigating the incident.