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Stolen industrial explosives used in terror strikes

india Updated: Nov 09, 2013 02:27 IST
Sandeep Pai
Jharkhand police

The crude bombs used during Narendra Modi’s Patna rally and bombs recovered recently by the Jharkhand police could be pilfered industrial explosives. Such explosives have been stolen in huge quantities in Jharkhand and Bihar, but there has been no recovery.

Earlier this week, police seized nine live pipe bombs, 19 detonators and 25 gelatin sticks from a lodge in Hindpiri, Ranchi.

“The explosives recovered can’t be legally procured. There is every possibility that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) pilfered these industrial explosives,” said Jharkhand additional director general of police SN Pradhan.

The Jharkhand police have found many similarities in the bombs used in Patna and those seized in Ranchi. “IM is using high-intensity gelatin-based pipe bombs and flame-based elbow bombs, which are relatively weaker,” Pradhan said. A series of low-intensity bombs had killed six persons in and around Gandhi Maidan before Modi’s ‘Hunkar rally’ on October 27. Documents obtained by HT under the RTI act from the Petroleum Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) reveal that since 2010, about 2 lakh detonators, 3,500 kg power gel and 110 kg ammonium nitrate (used to make gelatin) have been pilfered from Jharkhand and Bihar alone.

Shockingly, there has been no recovery. The lack of regulations has ensured that anti-social elements have an easy access to these explosives. PESO, the monitoring agency for explosives, has only 200 officers to watch 250,000 explosives makers across India.

“There is a lot of mining activity for coal, bauxite and iron ore in Jharkhand, where detonators are used for blasting. These explosives are easily pilfered,” Pradhan said. Jharkhand’s main worry is that the Indian Mujahideen has created a powerful module, as the investigation into the Patna blasts shows. “Jharkhand provides easy access to explosives and detonators, which the IM uses to deadly effect,” according to a security expert. On whether the state has issued any advisory to the home ministry, Pradhan said: “Once the investigation is over, we will explore all possibilities.”