Parliamentary panel on home chief wants NIA probe into ammo depot fire

Kolkata, May 31 (IANS) Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs chairman Pradip Bhattacharya on Tuesday demanded a National Investigation Agency probe to find out whether there was any “sabotage angle” in the massive fire at India’s largest ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon town that left 16 people dead.

“I am asking for a NIA probe. We need to see whether there was any sabotage angle. So many have died. We have to find out whether terrorists were involved,” Bhattacharya, a Rajya Sabha member, told IANS.

The senior Congress leader said he had earlier cautioned the government to tighten security at strategic locations.

“After touring the scene of the Pathankot attack, I had warned the government they needed to be cautious about tightening security at strategic locations. Terrorists and subversive groups are active in the country.

“They are often coming into the country or going out. So we need to get to the bottom of the matter and an NIA probe is the best option,” he said.

At least 16 persons, including a lt. colonel and a major, were killed and 17 injured in a massive fire at India’s largest ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon town early Tuesday, raising questions about alleged safety violations that endanger human lives and arsenal stocks at dozens of such facilities in the country.

The cause of the blaze that started around 1 a.m. was not immediately known. The sprawling 7,000-acre depot, some 115 km from Nagpur, houses the country’s biggest stockpile of weapons, including Brahmos missiles, AK47 rifles, other arms and ammunition, bombs and explosive items.

Seven security personnel and four terrorists were killed in the 80-hour gunfight at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot of Punjab in January.



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