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Did the RDX come from militants?

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s claim that Lt Col SP Purohit procured 60 kg of RDX for the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts has raised many eyebrows.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2008 02:36 IST
Presley Thomas

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) claim that Lt Col S.P. Purohit procured 60 kg of RDX for the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts has raised many eyebrows.

The ATS admitted later that it was yet to be proved whether Purohit himself procured the RDX. And if so, what was his source. ATS spokesperson Inspector Dinesh Aggarwal said, “We have some leads. And investigations are on to ascertain if Purohit procured the RDX, and from where and how.”

The ATS said it was still not sure whether the explosive was of the military grade and Purohit pilfered it from an ordinance factory or a depot.

Instead, army sources indicated that the only possible source could be militant outfits, with which Purohit — as an intelligence officer — could have been in touch. It is a routine technique of intelligence officers to counter cross-border terrorism.

Purohit, the sources said, if at all was indoctrinated by fundamentalists, could have possibly helped the organisation source the explosive too. This theory is gaining ground as the army sources said that no officer — least of all an intelligence officer — was authorised to procure RDX from an army depot.

What’s more, the sources said most army depots did not store RDX and only the research and development and engineering wings had access to the military grade RDX. And even if RDX is issued, it is accounted for and the personnel using the explosive are accountable.

The sources said the only other possibility when an army officer could procure RDX was through raids or seizures from militants. But they said there had not been such a big haul in the recent past nor can an officer constantly pilfer seized RDX, as most such operations in Kashmir are carried out jointly with the R&AW, IB and the local police.

This is in sharp contrast to the theory that Purohit had procured the RDX from Kashmir and later dumped it into a river.