Naxals getting explosives meant for industries?

Faced with an alarming number of mine attacks by Naxals, security agencies have launched a probe to find out whether explosives meant for industries are being smuggled to the extremists in Maoist-hit states.

New Delhi: Faced with an alarming number of
mine attacks by Naxals, security agencies have launched a
probe to find out whether explosives meant for industries are
being smuggled to the extremists in Maoist-hit states.

Official sources said many industries operating in
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar use explosives for
different industrial activities after taking licence from
Nagpur-headquartered Petroleum and Explosive Safety
Organisation (PESO).

Security agencies have long been suspecting that unused
explosives procured by the industries reach the hands of
Naxals either through pilferage or through intimidation.

"This is a very serious issue. We suspect that many of
these smuggled explosives are used to target police forces
engaged in anti-Naxal operations. Hence, we have ordered a
probe," a source said.

There is no proper mechanism, sources said, to take note
of how much explosives are used in a particular explosion
carried out for industrial purpose. So, if any industry claims
that it uses 100 kg of explosives in a month, there is no way
to find out whether that unit actually used that much of
explosives, they said.

There is also possibility of an industry operating in
Naxal belt getting intimidated and pass on the unused
explosives to Maoists or procuring more explosives than it
actually requires, the sources said.

Several explosive stores in the Naxal-hit areas have come
under Naxal attacks in the past. One such mine in Orissa`s
Damanjodi was attacked by Naxals in 2009 where 10 CISF
personnel were killed. Similar attacks have occurred in
Chhattisgarh`s Kirandul area too, which is in the restive
Dantewada district.

"If the investigation suggested that explosives meant for
industries indeed smuggled to the Naxals, security agencies
would be forced to take action against the industrial units
like what they did against a few corporate executives for
allegedly paying extortion money," the source said.

A senior official of an industrial group was last month
arrested and a few others were questioned by the Chhattisgarh
Police on allegations of funding Naxal groups.

However, the company had refuted the allegations of
making payments to Maoists saying it "baseless".

PTI

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