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Did CRPF stage-manage weapons recovery in JK?
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi
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February 24, 2008 16:25 IST

In what could turn into a major embarrassment for the Central Reserve Police Force, the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] police may book its officers and jawans for allegedly stage-managing the recovery of deadly RDX in Baderwah district, leading to cancellation of United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's [Images] visit there on Friday.

According to a report, neither the state police nor any other central security agency confirmed the operation for recovery of the arms and explosive material, including three kilograms of RDX, two Chinese grenades, a grenade launcher, two detonators, seven rounds of AK-47, four rounds of Pika Gun, one wireless set and a mobile phone charger.

According to highly-placed sources in the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department, the operation was allegedly stage-managed by the CRPF ahead of the visit of Gandhi, who was accompanied by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, to Baderwah town.

The CRPF team in civil dress had descended on an abandoned house in Teligarh area of Chinnot village and allegedly placed all the ammunition and the explosive powder there, the sources said.

The inquiry team recorded the statement of the grocery shop owner who had supplied food including a chicken preparation to the CRPF team, which had stationed itself a day prior to the visit of Gandhi and Patil.

The report said that the commanding officer of the CRPF battalion in the area had called the local police station at around 7.30 pm on Thursday and sought three personnel for a routine patrol. The three personnel from the Jammu and Kashmir Police reached the CO's,  office where they were made to sit for the next three hours without any work.

The Commanding Officer, who had returned from Jammu on the very same day, later asked the local police to accompany his team to Teligarh.

On its way back, the advance party of the CRPF, which was allegedly stationed in the abandoned house, met midway and narrated the story of the recovery of weapons and RDX.

The inquiry team questioned the CRPF personnel about the claim that the purported militants of Lashker-e-Taiba had run away on spotting the CRPF team.

The para-military personnel were left red-faced when they were asked to explain how could militants carry a Pika gun weighing 80 kgs, manage to slip away so easily and also leave four ammunition rounds behind.

The state Home Department summoned the CRPF Inspector General J C Dabas on Saturday and pulled him up for the alleged major goof up. He promised an enquiry and has deputed a deputy inspector general to conduct it.

Efforts to get a reaction from CRPF did not succeed as none of the officers contacted was ready to speak on the issue.

In the meantime, the Home Department has authorised the local police to file cases against the CRPF personnel to ascertain where arms and ammunition had come from, to show the alleged recovery.

The recovery had forced cancellation of the Gandhi's rally. She was accompanied by Patil, state Chief Minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad and senior officials from the state government and the Centre.

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