Cops nab 7 illegal manufacturers of rocket parts in TN

Cops nab 7 illegal manufacturers of rocket parts in TN

Chennai: Tracking the source of the rocket launchers and other ammunition seized at Mahaboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh a week ago, Tamil Nadu Police on Friday busted an ammunition-manufacturing network that was active in the outlying areas of the city for the past four years.

The anti-insurgency ‘Q’ Branch wing of Tamil Nadu Police that investigated the case has arrested seven people for manufacturing rocket parts and are on the lookout for a couple from Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh who had established the supply chain in Chennai.

Director-general of police D Mukherjee said Raghu alias Srinivasa Reddy of Nellore and wife Sudharani, two hardcore cadre of People’s War, had landed at Ambattur on the outskirts of Chennai in 2002 with the view to making rocket and rocket launcher components.

They established contacts with six other engineering and foundry units in Ambattur, Mugappair, Padi and Korattur, all within a radius of four km, to manufacture close to 25 parts that go into the making of rockets and launchers.

Since the components were made in different places, their purpose remained a mystery to the workers.

Raghu, a technical expert in rocket making, supplied requisite drawings and maps to the firms to make precision equipment and started sourcing them in 2003.

They were subsequently sent to Andhra Pradesh through Kranti Transports, using bogus invoices of a construction company.

While the first two consignments, sent last year, had his own name with a Vijaywada address as the consignee, the last one was sent to one Ram Reddy of Nellore on May 11, this year.

The couple had acquired components to assemble close to 1,000 rockets and launchers, Mukherjee said.

On getting information about the AP seizure, Raghu and Sudharani abandoned their house and left the city on a motorcycle on September 9 evening, Mukherjee said. A team has been dispatched to Nellore to trace them.

During the raids at their house, police seized the drawings and maps used for the clandestine operation, several photographs linking the couple to Naxalite groups and two breach blocks used for making breach-loaded rifles.

Mukherjee ruled out any LTTE connection to the arms seizure. He said that of late, Maoists had started using rocket launchers to attack their targets, especially police stations, and as per the information available, the seized consignments were meant only for the Maoists.

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