March 2: A team from Bihar police today raided a house at Dasnagar in Howrah and recovered components used to manufacture improvised firearms. The police said that the recovered components could be used to put together more than 1,500 firearms.
The tip-off about the Dasnagar address came up after the Bihar police unearthed an illegal firearms manufacturing unit in Munger and seized 450 pistols and arrested three persons yesterday.
“While interrogating the accused, we came to know about the Howrah address. A team of officers was sent to Howrah immediately,” Barun Kumar Sinha, the superintendent of police, Munger, told The Telegraph.
The police said it was unusual to find such a large improvised firearms manufacturing unit in Bengal because Munger caters to Bengal’s demand.
“Setting up a manufacturing unit in a rented house in Howrah appears to be significant. The criminals who are into the business of illegal firearms manufacturing must have been trained in Bihar as almost the entire supply of improvised firearms comes from that state,” said a senior police officer in Howrah.
He added: “The scale of the operation seems to indicate that there is a boom in manufacturing such arms since the general elections are going to be held soon and the demand is high.”
According to police, Utpal Chowdhury, a resident of Dasnagar, had rented a room from Pranati Pakhira, the former CPM councillor of the area (ward No. 22).
According to sources in Munger police, a stockpile of pipes with different diameters, small pieces of irons, springs and wood pieces were found stored in the room. “We also found a lathe machine. All these components are essential to manufacture firearms,” said an officer of Munger police.
Yesterday, the Bihar police had carried out extensive raids at Kasim Bazar in Munger and raided a house and seized 450 pistols. Three persons, Hasan Imam, the owner of the house, his son Safaraz, and another person Mohammad Azhar Sabri were arrested from there.
“While interrogating Sabri, we came to know about the Howrah unit,” said SP Sinha.
Inspector-general (operations) Amit Kumar said the raid was conducted in Bengal today after the seizure of 450 country-made pistols, 12 live cartridges and seven mobile phones from the Imam’s house in Munger.
“We have information that the person who rented the house in Howrah visited Munger several times and met arms suppliers,” said a police office in Munger.