Huge Odisha explosives’ haul may be linked to Maoists, suspect police
A major haul of illegal explosives from a smalltime trader in Odisha’s Ganjam district has flummoxed the security forces, who suspect a Maoist link to the huge cache of ammonium nitrate, gelatin sticks and detonators recovered by the special task force sleuths.
Police said they raided the house of one Saroj Patnaik in Gopalpur village under Rambha police station of the coastal Odisha district on a tip-off on Wednesday and found 196 quintals of ammonium nitrate, which had 99% purity and was exclusively meant for industrial purposes, 3200 gelatin sticks and 10,406 detonators. A case under section 286 of IPC and sections 4, 5 & 6 of Explosive Substance Act, 1908 was registered against Patnaik.
“This is one of the largest hauls of explosives in recent times. Though the accused was apparently trying to sell the explosives to local quarry owners, we are trying to find out if the accused was in contact with Maoists. The seized materials can be ingredients for the landmines that Maoists assemble,” said deputy inspector general of STF, Jai Narayan Pankaj.
The officer said they will take the accused on remand to find out the origin and the purpose of such a huge haul.
Patnaik could not produce any valid authority/license to justify possession of such explosives. He was arrested in a similar case in 2016 for storing explosives.