AN ILLEGAL arms factory, clandestinely producing components for weapons used by Naxalites was unearthed in the heart of the City on Thursday. A large quantity of explosives and some ultra-left literature was also recovered during the raid on the unit.
The factory, running in a rented building at Satnami Nagar in Piplani area, was manufacturing components for hand grenades, guns, rocket launchers and other weapons.
Six people, including a woman — all of whom appeared to be hardcore Naxalites — have been detained in raids at three places in the City and over Rs 10 lakh in cash had been recovered, the police said.
The Police Headquarters intelligence wing had received a tip-off about a workshop manufacturing accessories of arms meant for Naxalites. The subsequent raids led to the seizure of a huge cache of components of various sophisticated weapons and gunpowder, said police officials who conducted the raid.
The accused were using a lathe machine as a front for their arms manufacturing business, while the three machines used for making weapon accessories were hidden in rooms inside the rented shop in this lower-middle class residential cluster.
Police said that the accused hailed from southern states and had been living in Bhopal for over a year. Cassettes, CDs, laptop and literature about guerilla warfare and Naxalism have been recovered in the raid. The police have also seized a carbine and several rounds from the house.
“It is early days yet and we have not been able to properly quiz the detainees till now,” Additional Director General (ADG) S K Raut told a press conference later. He refused to divulge further information, saying that it was linked to national security. DIG Anuradha Shankar Singh and SP Anant Kumar Singh were also present at the conference.
The detained persons include Madhukumar alias Venkatesh (35), his wife Rajlaxmi alias Sonam, Ashok, Shriniwas, Raghu alias Deepak and Krishnaraju. The police claimed that during the raid one of the accused snatched the revolver of an Assistant Sub-Inspector and fired, but he was overpowered immediately. Nobody was injured in the incident.
Residents of the area told the police that they only knew some persons living in Kalpana Nagar worked in the house, but had no inkling that weapon accessories were being manufactured inside.
All the six persons would be arrested under the Explosives Act and Arms Act. The laptop and literature were yet to be examined. During initial quizzing the accused told police that they belonged to the banned CPI (Maoist) that was formed about two years ago when People’s War and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) merged to form a single Naxalite group. The discovery of the factory ahead of the Republic Day has made the police extra vigilant.
Replying to a question the ADG (Intelligence) said there might be more such illegal arms manufacturing units in the State. He said further interrogation would reveal how long the unit had been supplying arms to the outlaws and the route via which it was done, apart from existence of more factories. He said why the ultras had set up shop in Bhopal was also a matter for investigation.
The raids and the interrogation were on till the filing of this report.
The discovery has also caused embarrassment for Piplani police, as the activities had been going on under their nose for over a year. Local police officials are yet to specify whether this place was checked during the drive to verify tenants.