Shivamogga, Jan 24: A team of police officials, led by Eastern Range IG S Ravi which is probing into the blast incident that claimed the lives of six persons at Hunasodu village near Shivamogga, has discovered that people with political influence have been operating the racket of illegal trade of explosives in the district for the past several years.
A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said the people, involved in the trade, have been bringing explosive materials, including gelatin sticks, dynamites, ammonium nitrate and detonator, in lorries in huge quantities from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other states to the city and selling them to owners of stone crusher units and stone quarries at a profitable price. These facts came to light during the investigation of the accused, the police officer said.
The officer also stated that teams have been set up for the transport and the distribution of explosives. They used to bring more than 10 tonnes of explosives at a time in lorries and park them in the quarries for distribution to the owners.
Later, they used to send them in jeeps to owners of crusher units depending on their requirement. The local youths who have knowledge of explosives used to transport them, he explained.
On blast incident, he said 18 persons were in stone crusher unit at Hunasodu village late on Thursday night. Around three tonnes of explosives had been brought in lorries to the site.
They had loaded the explosives in jeeps and some had left the spot and the others had gone for dinner. The blast took place when six persons were loading explosives in another jeep and all of them died, he added.
The investigation officers have suspected that electric short circuit might have triggered a blast in the site.