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Andhra police seize 875 rockets
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September 08, 2006 12:09 IST
Last Updated: September 09, 2006 02:15 IST

The Andhra Pradesh police seized 875 rockets and other ammunition, meant to be delivered to Maoists, from the godowns of a transport company in Mahbubnagar and Prakasam districts in the last 24 hours. 

The police also arrested one person in Mahbubnagar and detained another person in Kadapa district in connection with what is considered to be the biggest arms haul in the country in recent times.

Acting on a tip-off, a special police party raided the godown of a transport company at Achampet, about 150 km from Hyderabad, on Thursday night. They recovered 600 rockets (missiles and launchers sans the explosives), 50 gelatin sticks and a dozen claymore mines stuffed in 53 gunny bags weighing more than 2,000 kgs.

The police also seized 275 empty rockets stuffed in 26 gunny bags from a godown of the same transport company at Giddalur in Prakasam district on Friday. 
The consignment was sent from Vijayawada and was meant to be delivered at four different places, including Jangireddypally in Mahbubnagar district. "This is the largest haul of rocket shells in the country. It is the most significant recovery in our war against the Maoists," Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen, who rushed to inspect the seized rockets, told newsmen.

These rockets were meant for use by Maoists to target police stations and police personnel. "Even a person on a motorcycle can launch these rockets," the DGP said and added, that the consignment was to be delivered to two Maoist leaders -- Mahbubnagar district committee secretary Sambasivudu and a district committee member -- at their hideouts in Nallamala forest area.

"The rockets were ready for filling with explosives. The live rockets would have the potential to cause major damage. Unlike the crude rockets seized from Maoists earlier, the present consignment consisted of highly sophisticated rockets and indicated the technological advances made by the Maoists. These can be fired from a launcher for a distance of 1 km to target objects or buildings. These can be shoulder-fired to target moving objects such as car, bus or truck or fired in the air to target a landing helicopter,"  Mahbubnagar Superintendent of Police K Srinivas Reddy told

The police arrested Hanumantha Reddy, stated to be a Telugu Desam activist, from the RTC bus station at Achampet on the suspicion that he was preparing to shift the consignment to Maoist hideouts.

However, the supporters of former Telugu Desam Minister and ex-legislator P Ramulu held a dharna at the police station in protest against the arrest. Taking serious exception, the DGP lashed out at the TDP leader for lending support to "absolute killers".

The police also organised raids on all the 400-odd branches of the transport company in the state, including its godowns and headquarters at Vijayawada.

Police sources said that the rockets could have been made in Tamil Nadu and transported to Mahbubnagar via Vijayawada and to Giddalur via Kadapa. A suspect -- identified as Srinivas Reddy -- was taken into police custody in Kadapa. 

Home Minister K Jana Reddy also congratulated the police and intelligence agencies for their "huge success" in recovering the sophisticated rockets. "This shows that the intelligence and police have stepped up their vigilance," he added.

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