THE MUMBAI Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has confirmed that the explosives recovered last month from Palghar district on the outskirts of Mumbai is RDX. Of the 18 kg explosives recovered, sources in the agency told The Indian Express that close to 12 kg is RDX. A report was submitted to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday.
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With the FSL confirming that the explosives were indeed RDX, the focus of the probe has now shifted. The police are now probing how such a huge cache of explosives were buried underneath an abandoned structure off the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway-8.
“RDX is a banned substance and can be procured only from the military. Now with the FSL confirming our suspicion, we will now probe how a prohibited substance was procured,” an official said.
RDX, known as Research Department Explosive, is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. In India, the Defence Ministry regulates the production and use of RDX.
While highly placed sources in the state Police Headquarters had earlier this week told The Indian Express that they suspect the recovered material may have been abandoned by a contractor, now with the FSL confirming it to be RDX, the state counter-terrorism agency is now probing how such a huge consignment of RDX made it to the abandoned structure.
In a joint operation carried out by the Mumbai Crime Branch and the Maharashtra ATS, sleuths recovered around 18 kg of explosives from an abandoned shed off the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway on October 27. Sources said 40 gelatin sticks, 39 detonators, two packets of ammonium nitrate and some “black substance and powder” now confirmed as RDX by the FSL was recovered from Gaon Satavli in Palghar.
“DCP-rank officers from both Mumbai Crime Branch and the Maharashtra ATS were personally present and supervised the search operation. The samples were collected under their supervision and sent to the FSL,” said an official.
According to sources, the explosives were found underneath the ground of an abandoned shed off NH-8. “We had source-based information that some explosives were buried inside the ground of the shed. When we dug it, we found the explosives. They have now been sent for forensic examination,” a senior official from the state counter-terrorism agency told The Indian Express.
The Mumbai ATS has registered a case at the Kalachowkie police station under Section 4 (Punishment for attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property) and 5 (Punishment for making or possessing, explosives under suspicious circumstances) of the Explosive Substance Act.