| CRPF jawans with IEDs and wires recovered during the search operation in Seraikela-Kharsawan on Saturday. Telegraph picture
Jamshedpur, Aug. 4: A joint team of police and CRPF jawans today stumbled upon a cache of more than 130 can bombs that had been planted on a two kilometre stretch of road connecting Raka to Palna in Seraikela Kharsawan. The recovery comes 24-hours after a CRPF patrol recovered and defused a 6kg can bomb from a road in Kharsawan.
The improvised explosive devices, all of which had been planted at a depth of around 1-1.5ft below the ground was recovered on the basis of a tip-off.
Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Upendra Kumar and Chowka police station in-charge Ram Awadh Singh after receiving the intelligence input sought help from CRPFs 196th battalion and started a joint search operation following which the recovery was made. CRPF bomb experts later defused the bombs that were interconnected with each other.
The search, which started around 7am, stretched well beyond four hours with sniffer dogs and bomb detectors being pressed into service by the alert security personnel.
SP Kumar later said Maoists belonging to the Kundan Pahan faction might have placed the improvised explosive devices there to target patrolling police parties.
The method adopted and the sheer quantity of explosives recovered during the operation has caught us by surprise. Rebels owing allegiance to Kundan Pahan are active in the region and might have carried out the job in a well-thought out manner, Kumar said.
He added that that the road from where the bombs were found was perfect for an ambush, being surrounded by Palna Dam water on one side and dense hills on the other. The method in which the explosives were hidden too shows that the knowledge of the rebels in explosives, Kumar said.
The can bombs had been coated with carbon to prevent detection by deep search mine detectors, the police officer said.
A CRPF jawan on condition of anonymity said that the devices recovered today were packed with explosives like ammonium nitrate and TNT.
Some of the bombs weighed around 500 grams and had enough explosives packed in them to blow to bits anything within a radius of one kilometre, the jawan said.
The SP also claimed that the bombs were inter-connected by a series of wires and pressure on any one of them would have made all the others explode within seconds causing huge casualties.
The Maoists had prior information of the stretch of road being used by police and para-military forces for long range patrolling thrice a week. The entire ambush had been meticulously planned with the IEDs being laid for a stretch of more than a kilometre, the SP said.
The police also suspect that the Maoists might have got hold of the ammonium nitrate from nearby stone crusher units, which uses them as explosives.
They suspect the TNT might have been smuggled in from the cities.
Police sources said that the attack was the sign of desperation by the Maoists to gain back the upper hand in the region so that they could set up a training centre in Hessakocha forest in Chandil sub-division.