HOMELAND SECURITY: Cops send ‘buyer’ to grocer, 600kg explosives seized – Siliguri Corridor at serious risk, urgent political solution advisable ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, June 10: A grocer and three others were caught redhanded for selling over 600kg bomb-making material after an arrested criminal posed as a buyer at their shop located a stone’s throw from Kaliachak police station.
The police suspect that Maoists from neighbouring Jharkhand and KLO rebels used to buy the explosives from the accused — Chandratan Daga, his son Bikram and two assistants, Ashok Gupta and Kajal Das — who sold the material using the shop as a front. The four were remanded in police custody for seven days.
According to Malda police chief Bhuban Mondol, over 600kg of explosive material have been seized from the grocery store that is located 100 metres from the Kaliachak police station. “A huge quantity of potassium nitrate, magnesium oxide and sulphur were stored in sacks and containers. The quantity is large enough to make thousands of crude bombs,” Mondol said.
With Kaliachak, 27km from here, located close to Bangladesh and also to Jharkhand, criminals from other states found it a “safe” location to come and buy the explosive material, he said. “We are also looking into why the Kaliachak police were not aware of this dangerous trade taking place at Chowringhee More.”
According to district intelligence sources, the recovery of such a huge quantity of explosives is unprecedented. “We have a strong belief that Maoists from across the Ganga in Jharkhand and militant groups like the KLO used to make good use of the explosives. A team from our Calcutta office is arriving here to investigate,” a source said.
The discovery was made following the arrest of dreaded criminal Noor Islam by the Murshidabad police from Aurangabad on Monday. Last night Noor was sent to the grocer as a prospective buyer of explosives.
A huge police force had surrounded the area. “As Noor was pretending to strike a deal with the Dagas, the police swooped down on them,” the source said.
Local people expressed shock that the Dagas, who have been living in the town and running the shop for years, were pandering to the needs of the criminals. “We never imagined that they were running the illegal business,” a resident said.
The source said Daga had told the police that the criminals in Kaliachak’s Mojampur area, who frequently clashed with each other during turf wars, used to buy the explosives from him.