New Delhi: Faced with an alarming number of mine attacks by Naxals, security agencies have launched a probe to find out whether explosives meant for industries are being smuggled to the extremists in Maoist-hit states.
   
Official sources said many industries operating in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar use explosives for different industrial activities after taking licence from Nagpur-headquartered Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO).
   
Security agencies have long been suspecting that unused explosives procured by the industries reach the hands of Naxals either through pilferage or through intimidation.
   
"This is a very serious issue. We suspect that many of these smuggled explosives are used to target police forces engaged in anti-Naxal operations. Hence, we have ordered a probe," a source said.
       
There is no proper mechanism, sources said, to take note of how much explosives are used in a particular explosion carried out for industrial purpose. So, if any industry claims that it uses 100 kg of explosives in a month, there is no way to find out whether that unit actually used that much of explosives, they said. There is also possibility of an industry operating in Naxal belt getting intimidated and pass on the unused explosives to Maoists or procuring more explosives than it actually requires, the sources said.
   
Several explosive stores in the Naxal-hit areas have come under Naxal attacks in the past. One such mine in Orissa's Damanjodi was attacked by Naxals in 2009 where 10 CISF personnel were killed. Similar attacks have occurred in Chhattisgarh's Kirandul area too, which is in the restive Dantewada district.
   
"If the investigation suggested that explosives meant for industries indeed smuggled to the Naxals, security agencies would be forced to take action against the industrial units like what they did against a few corporate executives for allegedly paying extortion money," the source said.
      
A senior official of an industrial group was last month arrested and a few others were questioned by the Chhattisgarh Police on allegations of funding Naxal groups.
       
However, the company had refuted the allegations of making payments to Maoists saying it "baseless".

(Agencies)