Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Barely a week after ammonium nitrate and electronic detonators were seized in Kolhapur district, a stockpile of explosives was found at Shendrun village, Shahapur taluk in Thane (Rural) district.

In a raid on a house on Thursday night, the police seized 150 kg of ammonium nitrate, 450 electronic detonators and 500 gelatine sticks, all together worth Rs.6,750.

Case registered

It has arrested house owner Bhimraj Rajulal Gurjar. Two other accused, Rajulal Gopilal Gurjar and Khemraj Dherulal Gurjar, are absconding. All the three hail from Rajasthan, the police said. A case under the Explosives Act has been registered.

In a bid to check manipulation in the quantity of ammonium nitrate used in authorised blasts, Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Yashasvi Yadav told The Hindu that he would be writing to the Home Ministry asking for government supervision of “legal” blasts, namely at construction and mining sites.

In the Kolhapur case, the culprit would obtain large quantities of ammonium nitrate for legal blasts by showing a bloated amount on paper.

“If 5 kg has been used, you show 500 kg so on. The excess ends up in the open market. Ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel or fuel oil becomes a deadly explosive. I am, therefore, writing to the government asking them to have an official representative at the sites of legal blasts. In the West, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom, I have found that they have government supervision.”

Mr. Yadav said in Nagpur there were many cases of siphoning of explosives. “More than the explosives, it is the detonators which are a worrying factor.”

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