BERHAMPUR: The arrest of the accused involved in smuggling of explosives to Ganjam district has posed questions on the efficiency of Rambha police which chose to let him off the radar despite knowing his antecedents.
Saroj Patnaik, who was nabbed by Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch in connection with seizure of a huge cache of explosives from Gopalpur village on January 27, was also arrested by Rambha police in 2016 on similar charges. However, after coming out of jail, Saroj allegedly resumed his illegal trade in a bigger scale while the police were unaware of it.
Last week, the STF raided Saroj’s house and seized 392 bags containing 196 quintal of Ammonium Nitrate, 3,200 gelatin sticks and 10,406 detonators which were smuggled from Madhya Pradesh. The next day, Saroj was arrested. During investigation it was revealed that the accused was running the racket from his grocery shop.
An associate of Saroj, who is involved in cattle smuggling, used to frequent other States and smuggle explosives from there. After Saroj’s arrest, he is absconding.
Surprisingly, Rambha police had raided Saroj’s house in 2016 and arrested him for smuggling. Despite knowing the accused’s antecedents, the police turned a blind eye to his activities and failed to keep a watch on him. Washing his hands off the matter, Rambha IIC Krushna Chandra Sethi said the STF is investigating the case.
The ammonium nitrate seized from Saroj’s house has 99 per cent purity exclusively meant for industrial purpose. Initial investigation suggested that the accused was possibly providing explosives to anti-socials for carrying out illegal mining activities.
The STF has sealed the accused’s grocery shop, his farm house and brick kiln. A case has been registered under Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Explosive Substances Act, Section 9B of Explosives Act and Section 120 (B)of the IPC.