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Patna a haven for arms peddlers?

patna Updated: Nov 10, 2009 19:29 IST
Ramashankar/Avinash Kumar

Patna and its adjoining areas have of late turned into a safe hideout for hardcore Naxalites and arms peddlers. The seizure of a cache of firearms, ammunition and explosives from different parts of the State in the recent past has alarmed the senior police officials.

The seizure of huge explosives and equipment used for making illegal weapons from a rented house on densely populated area like Bhutnath Road on Sunday and about 350 kg of explosives of high quality from a vehicle in Kankarbagh a day earlier is a pointer to clandestine business flourishing in and around the state capital, said a senior police officer.

Patna Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vineet Vinayak did not rule out the possibility of other storehouses being used by Naxalites to store explosives, arms and ammunition. “Raids are still on and links of the persons involved in the illegal trade are being ascertained,” he said, adding that the Patna police officials were alert.

As per police records, the Kotwali police had arrested 10 members of an inter-state gang and seized three rifles, one semi-automatic rifle, two pistols and 2,700 live cartridges in November last year. The police had also recovered Rs 2.50 lakh in cash from them.

In another operation, the police had seized 14 pistols and 14 magazines from the possession of two persons when they were about to deliver the consignment under Rupaspur police station.

The supply of illegal weapons to different criminal gangs and Naxal outfits is not confined to Patna only. About a year ago, the police had seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from Maoists hiding at Akbarpur village in Jehanabad’s Makhdumpur block. The police had seized 90 pieces of detonators, around 30 metre of fire wire and 60 kg of explosives.

In October, two arms peddlers were arrested in Patna on the charge of supplying weapons to the Maoists. A police team had intercepted a van in Patna and recovered a huge cache of ammunition. Besides, two peddlers identified as Montu Sharma and Dhananjay Kumar, both residents of Aurangabad district, were also arrested.

“After checking the car, we recovered 2,340 live cartridges, out of which 1,660 cartridges were of 315 bore, 480 cartridges were of .32 bore and 200 cartridges were of 9 mm bore,” said a senior police officer, who was leading the operation.

“Durng interrogation, Montu Sharma told the police that ammunition was to be supplied to the criminals and the Maoists. The ammunition, bought in from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, was to be sent to Munger, Aurangabad, Gaya and Jehanabad districts,” he added.

In Nalanda, the police had seized 6,000 detonators, gelatin sticks and fuse wire besides 5,000 live cartridges and several magazines of Insas rifles. In another operation, the Nawada police had recovered 5,000 detonators and 4,200 gelatin sticks. In Gaya, 1,200 detonators and a large number of gelatin sticks were seized.

When approached for comments, additional director general (headquarters) U S Dutt said, “Seizure of weapons and explosives shows that police are on alert and keeping a close eye on the activities of anti-social elements.”