Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seized explosives were for Maoists

Gyan Prakash, TNN 25 November 2009, 05:49am IST

PATNA: The huge cache of explosives, seized by Bihar police from different parts of the state and Jharkhand during the past few days, were mostly pushed into the state from Avadi in Pune and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.

This was disclosed to interrogators by the four persons who were nabbed in Rohtas following seizure of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate. Though Bihar police are yet to get to the bottom of the case, they are now convinced that the explosives were to be supplied to Maoists.

Over one lakh kg of ammonium nitrate was recovered from Patna, Gaya, Rohtas, and Bokaro (Jharkhand) following raids which started on November 7, 2009.

Those arrested initially tried to hoodwink the cops by maintaining that the chemical was meant for use as fertiliser. "For the last three years, not even a gram of ammonium nitrate was supplied to Rohtas by the government for use as fertiliser," a senior police officer said and added that seizure of gelatin sticks gave further credence to their belief that it was to be used for nefarious purposes.

Ammonium nitrate, if mixed with diesel and triggered with gelatin sticks, can cause huge explosion. "It is a good substance for making effective explosive devices," the police officer said.

Police said the arrested persons later confessed that the chemical was to be sent to Midnapore in West Bengal and Jharkhand where Maoists were to use it to enforce their poll boycott call. Assembly elections are being held in Jharkhand in five phases beginning November 25.

"Thank God, the explosives were seized in time otherwise one can very well imagine the extent of damage the Maoists would have caused during elections in Jharkhand," the police officer said.

Patna SSP Vineet Vinayak said the explosive materials were to be distributed in Maoists-hit districts of Bihar and Jharkhand.

Meanwhile, police are still wondering from where are the Maoists getting .315 bore and 12 bore cartridges, a large number of which too were seized in raids. "These are obsolete bores, neither being produced nor in use by police or Army anywhere in the country," said ADG (HQ) U S Dutt.

Police speculate these ammunitions might have been pilfered from army godowns. "We are working on this theory," said Dutt.

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