Boat carrying 3 rifles, 10 ammo boxes found in Raigad district; Fadnavis says it belongs to Australian
Mumbai, Aug 18: Security agencies went into a tizzy on Thursday after a suspicious boat with three AK-47 rifles and 10 boxes of live ammunition was found near Harihareshwar Beach in Raigad district of Mahasrashtra. The security has been tightened in entire district and nearby areas.
Local police told ANI a lifeboat had also been found (at Bharadkhol) and that both were empty. "Coast Guard and Maharashtra Maritime Board have been informed... police is taking the necessary action," an unnamed cop told ANI.
Some locals spotted the boat, having no crew member, in Shrivardhan area, located more than 190 km from Mumbai, and alerted security agencies.
Raigad Superintendent of Police Ashok Dudhe and other senior officials rushed the spot and searched the boat.
Three AK-47 rifles and some bullets were found on the boat and the police were conducting further investigation, the official said.
Officials have begun inquiries but have ruled out a terror angle at this time.
The boat was found around 200 km from Mumbai. It was first spotted by locals in the area who then informed police of the boat's location.
Visuals shared by ANI show what appears to be a white powerboat drifting a short distance offshore.
"As per primary info, some boats containing weapons and documents found in Harihareshwar & Bharadkhol of Shrivardhan in Raigad. Local police is probing (the matter). I've demanded chief minister (Eknath Shinde) and deputy chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis) urgently appoint special team of ATS (anti-terrorism squad) or (a) state agency (to investigate)," MLA Aditi Tatkare said.
Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis briefed the Assembly amid an AK-47-laden boat being found on a Raigad beach. He informed the Assembly that the boat belonged to an Australian woman. It was going from Muscat to Europe.
''The 16 metre long boat found near Harihareshwar, belongs to an Australian resident and was headed to Europe from Muscut. The engine of the boat developed a snag and the occupants of the boat had to be rescued by a Korean warship. With water being choppy, the boat could not be towed and so it went adrift. Although the boat has been recovered and checked, all necessary precautions will be taken,'' he said.
''All the police officials have been put on high alert and we are constantly in touch with the Indian coast guard regarding the issue,'' Fadnavis further said.
According to unnamed officials cited by news agency PTI, crew members of this particular boat may have been the ones rescued off the Oman coast in June. It is possible the boat then slowly drifted to the Raigad coast, police said.
(With input from ANI, PTI)