Karnataka police sounds out NIA to probe seizure of huge cache of explosives

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MANGALORE: Karnataka State Police has approached the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with large scale seizure of explosive by Udupi district police. An approximate of 95 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was seized by police in Udupi recently with no arrests made in this connection so far. State police authorities have written to top brass of the NIA in this regard and are awaiting their reply, said R Hithendra, city police chief.

Hithendra, incidentally, who is holding additional charge as Inspector General of Police (Western range) said the state police is in touch with the Joint Director of NIA and the DIG of the nation’s central counter-terrorism agency and they have assured to revert to us at the earliest. While the state police in normal course would have investigated the case, Hithendra said this was a special case that the state police felt was best probed by NIA.

“The quantity of seizure of ammonium nitrate seized is huge. Nearly 90 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was seized,” he said, adding that the area where the explosives were seized is close to the areas where naxalites are believed to be operating. With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, and its proximity to places where Indian Mujahideen (IM) modules operated in Chikmagalur area in the past too has guided the state police’s decision.

Stating that police are yet to make any arrests in this case, Hithendra said the main accused – a Kerala based owner of the consignment of explosives is on the run. According to preliminary probe that Udupi police carried out in this connection, the explosives were being supplied to illegal quarries in the area. Udupi police had initially seized about 230 bags of ammonium nitrate hidden in a trench from Chara village in Hebri.

Subsequently, the Udupi police seized about 37,500 detonators from an abandoned vehicle near Tellar in Karkala taluk. More than 1,000 bags of ammonium nitrate were seized from a rubber plantation in Nakre of Karkala taluk prior to this. This was followed by another raid, where the police seized about 340 bags of ammonium nitrate, 500 gelatine sticks and 13,000 detonators. Hithendra said all this warranted that NIA take a crack at the case.

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