The accused individuals charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Explosive Substance Act, and Arms Act have been identified as Manoj Ghosh and Islam Chowdhury of West Bengal. According to the NIA, five accused persons were named in the main charge sheet, and two accused persons were named in the first supplementary charge sheet filed in April and June of this year, respectively.
NIA investigations revealed that accused Manoj Ghosh, owner of Rajlaxmi Stone Works, located in Birbhum district, WB, procured explosives like electric detonators, ammonium nitrate, gelatine sticks, etc., illegally from the accused Rintu Sk for his illegal stone mining and stored them in the vicinity of a public place, thereby endangering the lives and properties of the civil populace.
As per the NIA release, he was also found in possession of prohibited firearms and ammunition. Investigations also revealed that the accused, Islam Chowdhury, had knowledge of the illegal business of explosives, and he had established close contact and conspired with the accused, Merajuddin Ali Khan, Mir Md. Nuruzzaman, and facilitated them in carrying out the illegal supply of explosives, the release said.
The case was registered in September 2022 following the seizure of 81,000 electric detonators from a vehicle in the Md. Bazar Police Station area in Birbhum by a team of STF, West Bengal. The vehicle’s driver, Ashish Keora, was also arrested, and subsequent searches led to the seizure of another 2,525 electric detonators, 27,000 kg of ammonium nitrate, and 1,625 kg of gelatin sticks from an illegal godown, according to an NIA release.
Also, the seized documents showed that a total of 86,700 kg of gelatin sticks, 4,99,222 electric detonators, and 204 Nonels (big electronic detonators) were illegally supplied to various illegal miners so far, it added.
Further investigation in this case is underway.