The nine bombs recovered near the railway track in Kurukshetra on July 22, five days before the Gurdaspur terror attack, could have been from a naval base in Kerala. A Government Railway Police (GRP) team probing the matter has left for Kerala to verify the claim.
Inspector general of police, GRP, Paramjit Singh Ahlawat told HT on Monday that the final picture behind the chance recovery of the mortar shells would be clear in a couple of days.
Ahlawat said that prima facie there was no evidence to link the recovery of mortars near the busy Ambala-Delhi railway track with the terror attack.
“A team of investigators has been sent to Kerala for investigation. I will be able to comment only after the team gives a report,” said the IGP.
However, sources said that according to an input, a parcel of explosives was being transported by the Naval Armament Depot based in Kochi in Kerala for 'proof testing' to the ordnance factory at Itarsi in 2012, but the consignment has not been delivered at the destination till date.
According to the sources, codes and other details furnished on the bomb casings would help in identifying the source of the explosives.
“It is yet to be ascertained if the said lost parcel of explosives meant for testing has any connection with the recovery in Kurukshetra. It is also important to investigate how the recovery was made after three years and if any police complaint was made in the alleged case of missing mortars in Kochi,” said an official.
Sources in the state police and the GRP said that prima facie it seemed that a box of ammunition could have fallen during the movement of the defence personnel.
“It is yet to be confirmed if the ammunition belonged to the army, paramilitary or any other wing of the defence forces. However, it is a case of utter carelessness and guilty would be prosecuted once the source of ammunition is ascertained,” said a police functionary.
Nine bombs were found on the track near Shahbad Markanda station in Kurukshetra district on Wednesday, disrupting rail traffic in the region.
Seven 51-mm mortar shells were found on the track around 9.30am. The eighth bomb was found near an olive green metal ammunition box found near the track in Ranjit Singh Nagar locality in the afternoon.
The ninth shell was also found near the track in the evening whereas efforts were still on to check another explosive near the track. Police sources said an ammunition box contains 10 mortar shells of which one is still missing.
Clueless about hand-grenades
Meanwhile, the police have no clues about the source of hand grenades and detonators which were recovered from a deserted place in Jhajjar on Sunday.
The Jhajjar police had recovered two live hand-grenades, detonators and fuse wires from fields in Nuna Majra village of Bahadurgarh sub-division of the district after some locals spotted the explosives from a deserted place, which is close to a power sub-station.
Though the Jhajjar police had sent the grenades to a laboratory, they did not have any information about the source of these grenades and detonators.
Jhajjar SP Sumit Kumar said, “Definitely, the source of these hand grenades is illegal as these things cannot be purchased from the market. Since the grenades are old and do not bear any stamps or markings, we have sent them to the lab to find out the source. We are also taking help of the army to ascertain from where the grenades were brought”, he added.
Asked if any army officials could be behind the recovery of the hand grenades, the SP said, “We cannot say anything in this regard as we don’t have any authentic information about it, but definitely the source is illegal”.
Though police sources said that the recovered detonators were generally used for mining activities, the recovery of grenades raised questions.
Similarly, more than 20 days after a live hand grenade was recovered from a government school in Bedwa village of Meham sub-division of the Rohtak district, the police do not have any information from where the grenade reached the village.
“After getting it defused from the bomb disposal squad, we had sent the grenade to our Madhuban lab, but they also failed to trace out the source and manufacturer of the grenade as it was about 10-years-old”, said Meham police station incharge Rajinder Singh.
He, however, said, “Army is the only source of these grenades as nobody can purchase it from the market. However, we can’t say how the grenades come out from army camps to villages”.
“We cannot deny the involvement of army men behind the recovery of grenades, but the matter should be taken seriously as it reflects the poor security of the army’s training camps, a police officer on the condition of not disclosing his name said,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.