In what has been stated as the 'biggest recovery' in Bihar's criminal history, the Patna police on Thursday seized 49 quintals of high grade explosive material stocked in two houses in Gaya district’s Mainpur area in the wee hours of Thursday, 120 kms south of the state capital.
The recovered stock includes 81 bags of explosive materials from densely populated Chotki Nawadah Mohalla, two kms west of Gaya town and 29 bags from a house in Raja Babu market area, situated in the east of the town. Two mobile-sized batteries and half litre of chemicals used in making can bombs, sulphur coated electric wires were also recovered. Timeline of the explosives seized
The materials seemed to have been primed and kept for immediate use, police said. Subhash Kumar, a native of Ratanpur village in Jahanabad district has been apprehended from his rented house in Chotki Nawadah Mohalla, under Delha police station of Gaya town.
Gaya Superintendent of Police S M Khopade said the explosives, mostly ammonium nitrate, were highly inflammable and forensic experts have been called from Patna to test the material, he said, adding huge quantity of naxal literature was also recovered during the police operation.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that Subodh Kumar, understood to be the kingpin of the explosives racket, who has also been a gunrunner for the Maoists has been arrested too. Subodh is involved in stockpiling the explosives in Bokaro in Jharkhand and Kankarbag in South Patna also, which the police had recovered in two earlier raids.
CD's recovered in the three successive raids have suggested that there is an inter-state angle to the explosives trail, which embraces Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal. Other materials seized point to a Tripura angle and cross border exchanges of the stockpile recovered so far.
The explosives had been stocked at this safe home to be used later by Maoists during the forthcoming Assembly polls in Jharkhand, Additional Director General (Headquarters) US Dutt told HT on Thursday.
"The explosives are of the highest grade and believed to have been transported in from Orissa. Due to raids in Jharkhand before elections, Gaya was used as a staging post and safe house. We are probing the entire gamut of the network in all states with the help of other state agencies. A combined operation to destroy the cartel is not ruled out", Dutt added.
Following the recovery, officials of the Criminal Investigation Department and Special Branch have been asked to collect all reports and provide background of the recoveries of arms and explosives in as many as 13 districts in recent times.
The districts involved include, Nawadah, Munger, Rohtas, Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Nalanda etc. There appear to be a common thread to the surfacing of the deadly stock, officials said. Police do not rule out the role of stone crushing units located in the above districts, which routinely import explosives' materials.
In fact, some documents seized in recent raids suggest this. The lists in CD's have indicated a point-to-point route handlers. The recent Bokaro and Patna raids have also suggested that the explosives racket extends far away from the Bihar-Jharkhand borders. The CD's also enumerate ways of putting together deadly improvised devices and the steps therein.
The director general of police on Thursday held a meeting with senior police officials in the wake of recovery of huge quantity of explosive material and chemicals used for making high grade explosives from different parts of the state in the past few days.
“Since the ambit of investigation is not confined to Bihar only, all the state’s agencies have to work together to hammer the inter-state network of peddlers of arms, ammunition and explosive materials,” said a senior police officer. He said the entire operation was being monitored by the officials posted at the state police headquarters. “We are providing all support to the Patna police in carrying out investigation,” the officer said.