An AK-47 rifle, believed to have been used by the terrorists in the American Center attack last year, was recovered from a drain in Topsia on Monday afternoon. Two loaded magazines of the rifle and two 9-mm pistols were also found on the spot.
Experts examining the weapons said the rifle was of Czech make and each of its two magazines was loaded with 60 bullets. The two 9-mm pistols, one of the most sophisticated guns around, were also loaded. “We have not opened the pistols so far. We will have to handle them carefully. Right now, we don’t know the number of bullets loaded in the pistols,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner (I) of the detective department.
Mitra, who is overseeing the American Center probe, said a sweeper of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) found the weapons while cleaning the drain. “He noticed a gunny bag under a culvert at 79, South Topsia Road, while digging a sewerage line,” Mitra added.
The sweeper opened the bag and saw the guns. He informed the nearby Topsia police station, from where a message was sent to Lalbazar.
Deputy commissioner Mitra said the bag had been hidden under the culvert and those who had hidden the bag had dug up the drain a foot and a half deep, before covering it up. “The rifle was kept in the gunny bag in a ready-to-use condition and its removable parts were not detached,” he added.
The sleuths sought help from forensic analysts for a more detailed examination of the arms and ammunition. “We will send the weapons to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) within a day or two to have the guns analysed,” Mitra said.
Sleuths, with the help of Bihar police, had recovered another AK-47 from a hideout in Hazaribagh a few days after the American Center attack. “We, then, brought the rifle here. But the bullets fired from the terrorists’ gun had not matched with the rifle. This time, we will examine the rifle in detail — when it was last fired and whether the bullets match it or not,” said an officer of detective department.
Investigators suspect the rifle was used in the January 22 operation because the culvert from where it was recovered, along with the other pistols, is only a few metres away from Jamaluddin Nasir’s house, used as a shelter by the terrorists blamed for the American Center attack. Nasir is suspected to have masterminded the attack.