Explosives seizure keeps cops on toes
Ahuge explosives haul from Udupi district’s Karkala taluk in Karnataka in March has kept police officers on their toes and the main accused is said to be ducking an intensive police hunt by changing his hideout from one state to another. According to Karnataka Police, 95 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, 95,000 electrical detonators and 19,250 metres of safety fuse were seized in the taluk, and the sheer size of the cache has sent shockwaves in the coastal region. Reports said the haul was meant for quarrying in and around Karkala, but police are investigating the case from all angles, including possible sabotage or suspected terror activities.
Karnataka Police recently asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for help in investigations, but Karkala’s Assistant Superintendent of Police Annamalai told the media that he was yet to receive orders on handing over the probe to the top agency.
Since Karkala is a Naxal-affected area, the stocking of explosives appears dangerous, more so because of the Lok Sabha elections. But Annamalai spiked those fears, saying they have taken measures to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
Biju Thomas is said to have emerged as a top accused in the case, sources said. This is not the first time he’s on the police radar. On February 7, 2007, Karkala Police had nabbed him for stocking huge quantities of ammonium nitrate and seized 300 kg of the toxic solution. In 2010, Bengaluru City police had taken Biju into custody in connection with the Chinnaswamy Stadium blasts case, but let him off due to lack of evidence.