Saturday, September 09, 2006

Largest haul of Maoists' weapons in districts

MAHBOOBNAGAR/ONGOLE: In the biggest-ever haul of weapons in the country, the police on Friday stumbled upon huge stocks of rockets and launchers belonging to the outlawed Maoists in Mahboobnagar and Prakasam districts.

While 16 rocket launchers, 600 rocket shells and 300 bullets packed in 53 gunny bags were seized at Jangireddypalli village in Amrabad Mandal skirting the Nallamala forests, another 275 rocket launchers packed in 27 bags were recovered from an unclaimed consignment in Kranthi Transport company, a private cargo mover, in Giddalur town.

The ammunition was shipped from Chennai in May this year and it reached Vijayawada and Proddatur from where it was re-directed to Achampet and Giddalur.

Two persons- one at Achampet in Mahboobnagar district and another at Proddatur in Kadapa district were taken into custody. Following the recovery of the arms, the police began statewide raids on the transporters’ offices and go downs, which are allegedly owned by a ruling party legislator from Krishna district. These were intended for distribution among Naxalite cadres in Kurnool, Mahboobnagar, Nalgonda and Prakasam districts for attacks on police stations.

Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen, who rushed to Mahboobnagar to look at the seized weapons, told reporters that based on a tip-off, the police took a Telugu Desam leader, Dandi Hanmanth Reddy, at Achampet bus stand as he moved suspiciously on Thursday night.

Under interrogation Hanmanth Reddy revealed the details of the dump, which was to be handed over to Maoist district secretary Sambasivudu. In return, the Maoists agreed to pay Rs 10,000 to Hanumanth Reddy. Preliminary investigation revealed that the arms seized at Jangireddypalli were booked in the name of one Bhaskar in Vijayawada and the 1,000 kg consignment recovered at Giddalur was said to have been sent to a former Naxalite, M Srinivas Reddy, who re-directed it to Giddalur.

“We suspect that the Maoists were receiving arms from Tamil Nadu and we will investigate that angle too,” Sen said and added they were yet to ascertain the power of the rocket launchers and would seek the opinion of experts.

This website’s newspaper reported from Ongole that the police recovered the ammunition stuffed in 26 gunny bags of rocket spares and gelatin sticks, which were lying unclaimed for the last three months in the go down of Kranthi Transport.

According to Markapur assistant police superintendent A V Ranganath, the police took the firm’s agent Ch Bhaskar, into custody and seized the records.

In Vijayawada, Police Commissioner Umesh Sharaff told this website’s newspaper the records seized at Kranthi Transport revealed that the consignment which included 51 gunny bags and two cartels was shipped from Chennai on May 9th and reached Vijayawada after two days.

It was received by a person who identified himself as P Srinivasa Reddy and re-directed it to Mahboobnagar, he said.

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