Investigating agencies believe the Indian Mujahideen (IM), suspected to be behind Wednesday's triple explosions in Mumbai, may have procured the ammonium nitrate used in the bombs from Maoists in Maharashtra.
"IM has been short of funds and resources and may not have been able to procure RDX as routes are blocked due to vigilance. It may have been helped by Maoists in the state, who have free supply of ammonium nitrate because they operate in areas where mining takes place," an officer told HT on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Gadchiroli and other surrounding areas in the eastern part of Maharashtra are centres of Maoist activity.
Ammonium nitrate is a fertiliser. A mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, called ANFO, is commonly used in mining and quarrying operations.
The officer said there has earlier been evidence of Maoists being funded by Islamist terrorists, but if the Naxals did indeed supply the ammonium nitrate, this could be the first time the two elements have come together for an operation.
The officer ruled out the use of RDX as the explosions did not leave any craters at the three spots. "In fact, most of the injuries are either burns or those sustained due to objects that would have been destroyed in the blast. No presence of pellets has been found, which suggests the bombs were small and of low intensity," the officer pointed out.
The making of a bomb is easy if ammonium nitrate, sulphur, fuel oil and a tungsten fuse wire are brought together.