The prime suspect in the incident in which 17,000 kg of ammonium nitrate was seized from Vazhikadavu in Malappuram district in July has links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to the police.
The suspect, Ismail, for whom the explosive was brought, had served six months jail term in Tamil Nadu in a case related to the supply of explosives to the LTTE.
Ismail, a native of Vazhayoor in Malappuram district, was the sixth accused in the case with crime number 657/2006 registered in Madurai.
He was sentenced under the National Securities Act. The Kerala police got this information when he was arrested from Thenhipalam in 2010 for stocking gelatin sticks and detonators. He gave testimony to the police about his involvement in the explosive supply to the LTTE, which was recorded on May 11, 2010.
“The police are trying hard to nab Ismail. We haven’t got any clue to link the ammonium nitrate seizure with any extremist organisation, though it can’t be ruled out. A conclusion can be reached only after interrogating Ismail,” police sources said.
The police are also investigating the financial sources of Ismail. He started the explosive business in 1974 and his wealth has multiplied in a short span of time.
The police doubt that his connection with extremist groups helped him to amass such a huge amount of money within a short period. Ammonium nitrate is mostly exported to the country from Ukraine. There are two agencies, one in Nagpur and the other in Vishakhapatnam, for supplying it to other dealers.
States like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have liberal laws regarding stocking of explosives.
The ammonium nitrate that was seized from Vazhikadavu came from Hyderabad via Bangalore. The stock was loaded onto another lorry in Bangalore. The police seized the explosives following a tip-off.
It was sent from a Hyderabad-based agency to Alungal Enterprises in Vazhayoor, which is owned by the father of Ismail.
The licence of this company had expired in 2006. The State Special Branch also conducted an inquiry into the case and found that the explosives are used in quarries around Kondotty.
They, too, did not find any clue that connects the smuggling of explosives with extremist groups.