The Kagal police in Kolhapur district arrested four youths on Saturday night for allegedly trying to sell locally-made explosives. Four live bombs and equipment worth Rs 26,69,575 were confiscated in a trap laid at a location off the Kolhapur-Bangalore National Highway near Kagal city, said the police.
Following the arrests, the Kolhapur police were probing whether the attempt had any connection to a rally by Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Sangli on April 9. Both the local police and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, however, have now ruled out any terror angle to the case.
The four accused, all in their twenties, are Ajinkya Manohar Bhopade and Aniket Bhivaji Mali from Chokak village in Hatkanangle tehsil, Nilesh Babanrao Patil from Male Mudshingi in Hatkanangle, and Anil Popat Kharase from Kabnur-Ichalkaranji in Hatkanangle. None of them have any prior criminal record.
Preliminary interrogation of the accused has allegedly revealed that they were out to make quick money by selling the bombs. Acting on a tip-off, officers posed as decoy customers and arrested the four, who have been remanded in police custody till April 14.
Kolhapur District Superintendent Manojkumar Sharma said: “Initially, it was suspected that the suspects were motivated by some extremist group, but their interrogation revealed that they got into crime to earn easy money at one go.” “The confiscated material includes gelatin sticks, remotely handled switches, remote control devices, five screw drivers, steel clips, wire-cutters, hacksaws, scissors, hammers, buzzers, door bells, six battery cells, energy circuit wiring, switch cord and paper pieces with diagram notes, among others. The gelatin sticks used for blasting of borewells were stolen from a quarry, claim the arrested accused,” said Sharma. — With inputs from Pune