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.

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