The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Raids rip veil off twin armouries

Baidyabati (Hooghly), Dec. 24: In one of the biggest arms hauls in Bengal in recent times, police today seized a huge cache of automatic weapons and ammunition, including four landmines, from separate places in Baidyabati and Amarpur.

According to police sources, the arms and ammunition were meant for People’s War (PW) militants.

The seizure came 48 hours after the state government deployed about five companies of the BSF in the PW-infested areas of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.

According to Asesh Biswas, the sub-divisional police officer of the district, the raid at Baidyabati in the Serampore police station area, 35 km from Calcutta, was conducted around 10.30 am following a tip-off.

“The superintendent of police, Ajay Kumar, asked us to carry out the raid and accordingly, we surrounded the house on Nimai Tirtha Road near Baidyabati Chowmatha,” Biswas said.

The house belonged to Pashupatinath Banerjee, a former employee of a private jute mill. The police said that more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition meant for various kinds of firearms, including AK 47s, 16 self-loading rifles, 25 grenade shells, gun powder, 40 back-packs, PW literature and ropes used to clean the barrels were found from the ground floor flat of the building.

“My father had rented it out to a man, Ajit Kumar Mondal, three years ago. He had told us that he was a resident of Barasat and a trader dealing in potatoes. He also told us he used to supply potatoes to shop owners in Bankura, Arambagh and Goaltore. We had no idea that he could prove to be such a menace,” Pashupatinath’s son Pradip said.

“Mondal rarely visited the house and, when he would, a few others accompanied him. But these outsiders would leave within a short while. He would come at night and leave before daybreak and always travelled in a jeep. The last time I saw him was nearly 10 days ago. He always paid the rent on time and we had no complaints in this regard,” Pradip added.

“During the raid, we also recovered a few diaries from which we gathered that there was another cache of arms at a hideout in Amarpur in the Polba police station area, nearly 30 km from Baidyabati,” Biswas said.

A second police team, led by district superintendent Ajay Kumar, went to a building under construction at Amarpur for the second raid around 5.30 pm

“A section of the ground floor was partly ready but the portion which raised doubts in our mind was the garage which was complete with rolling shutters,” Kumar said.

“We broke open the lock and shutters only to find a Maruti Gypsy parked inside. A thorough search of the vehicle revealed a huge cache of arms. We recovered 2,000 rounds of ammunition, four landmines, two Sten guns, four magazines with capacity to hold 30 bullets and PW literature. Preliminary investigations revealed that this building belongs to a man named Dulal Mondal,” Kumar added.

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