Seizure of explosives sparks fears of terrorist, Maoist activity
Mumbai: The Thane Police Crime Branch arrested two persons after they were allegedly found to be in possession of 199 gelatin sticks and 100 detonators in Dombivli on Sunday evening. The seizure, which sparked fears of terrorist or Maoist activity, is said to be an attempt to evade the lengthy and expensive licensing process involved in the use of gelatin sticks.
The Kalyan unit of the Crime Branch received a tip-off that two men would be coming to Dombivli along with a large cache of explosives. A trap was laid at Khoni village on the road towards Taloja. At 4.30 p.m. the duo, who came on a bike and were waiting for someone, were intercepted.
“We had a sniffer dog, who indicated that the bags the men were carrying contained contraband. We found the explosives and detonators, after which we arrested them,” senior police inspector Sanju John, Kalyan unit, Thane Crime Branch, said.
The duo, identified as Ashok Tamhane and Samir Dhule, both residents of Sawle village in Karjat, were taken to the Kalyan unit office. Due to the large quantity of the explosives, the police began investigations to find out if the cache was to be supplied to any terrorist or Maoist organisation.
The Anti-Terrorism Squad was also alerted, and information was requested about any intelligence inputs regarding terrorist or Maoist activity in Thane district.
“The accused have revealed the source and the recipient of the explosives, but we are verifying their claims. Gelatin sticks are used to break large rocks in quarries or mines, and in construction sites. Not only is a licence required to sell them, a short-term licence is also needed to use them,” Mr. John said.
He said black marketeers obtain explosives at very cheap rates from factories and sell them at large profits.
Officers said the source and the recipient of the explosives are expected to be picked up in the next couple of days. “Even though the accused claim they are black marketeers, any connection of the supplier and the recipient to terrorist or Maoist outfits will be probed,” an officer said. The accused have been charged with negligent conduct with respect to explosive substances under the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Explosives Act. The two have been remanded in police custody till April 19.