New Delhi, Sept 14: When 163 trucks with 800 tonnes of explosives go missing, it is no laughing matter. This is an incident that occurred in the year 2010 and was probed jointly by the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh ATS which discovered that there was a notorious gang which would waylay trucks and divert the explosives.
This case becomes important to discuss in the wake of the tragedy at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh in which over 100 persons were killed in a blast.
It has been ascertained now that explosives that were stored in the area was the cause for the explosion. The person in question had a licence to store explosives, but the issue was that safety norms had not been followed.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered a probe into the blast. The probe would go beyond just this incident and would look at cracking the whip on the supply of illegal explosives and its smuggling.
How illegal explosive trade thrives:
In the year 2010, it was reported that 163 trucks which were plying between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had mysteriously gone missing in separate incidents. It was also revealed that these trucks were carrying 800 tonnes of explosives.
The probe had found that there was an organized gang operating between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which was behind these incidents. The explosives that were manufactured at the government unit at Dholpur at Rajasthan were being diverted by these organized gangs. It was also found that many of these lorries had been diverted in connivance with the driver.
Further the probe also revealed that these explosives which are manufactured for quarry work and supplied only to those with a licence was being diverted to Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and also Maharashtra.
The ATS which probed the case also concluded that there was a man by the name Charan who was the mastermind of this racket. It was also revealed that the mastermind in connivance with persons working at the Dholpur factory had been smuggling explosives.
Gelatine sticks available for Rs 150 each:
The probe also revealed that there was a high demand for explosives among the quarry owners. They are provided only with a prescribed quantity of explosives. However when they want to carry out illegal quarry work beyond the prescribed limit, they rely on these explosive smugglers too. Investigations found that it is the quarry owners who were the reason for this high demand of illegal explosives and pay Rs 150 per gelatine stick.
While there have been stray incidents in which even terrorist groups have sourced explosives with the help of these smugglers, the bigger menace was the quarry owners, the police had also found. They contribute to 95 per cent of the supply of illegal explosives, an officer with the ATS informed.
The other aspect to this entire episode was the supply of explosives to naxals. A person of Madhya Pradesh origin who was arrested in Bengaluru had confessed that he was supplying the explosives to the naxals.
There is a high demand and naxals have their agents who supply them with explosives that have been procured illegally, he had also confessed. The probe into this person had also led to several disclosures and on the basis of which 1,500 detonators had been seized in 2010 from naxalites in Jharkhand as well.