Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 19:
The commissionerate police ,which busted a gun-manufacturing unit at Jankia in Odisha’s Khordha district two days ago, has come to know that the unit was selling guns to the Maoists and other anti-social elements.
The police would take the owner of the manufacturing unit Babuli Moharana, his associate Adhikari Moharana and two gun peddlars— Sanatan Baliarsingh and Ranendra Prasad Das—who were remanded to judicial custody by a local court on Sunday, on remand for further interrogation.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that Babuli and Adhikari were supplying guns to the prawn and timber mafia. Besides, police also suspect their link with the Maoists, but have refused to divulge the details of any leads they may have got about such a link lest it hampers its investigation, sources said.
According to police, the mini gun-manufacturing unit was in operation inside a small thatched house since 20 years. During the period, Babuli was having his gun trade mostly in the coastal areas like Puri, Brahmagiri, Astarang, Ganjam, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Paradip and Bhubaneswar.
Besides, he also has a sizeable number of customers in Daspalla, Ranpur and Athagarh. The names of some influential persons has also figured as his alleged clients.
Police said Babuli had a large number of customers in and around the locality. While the timber mafia of Ranpur and Daspalla used to purchase country-made pistols from Babuli, the prawn mafia of Chilika area had also purchased pistols from him.
Since Cuttack was his old haunting ground, Babuli was able to sell a large number of guns to the goons in Kendrapara and Paradip areas, police said.
Sources in the locality said some Maoists from Ranpur and Daspalla areas had a secret arms deal with Babuli.
Sources in the commissionerate police said Babuli was working as a body-guard of a well-known contractor in Paradip in the late 1980s. After working there for 10-12 years, he started manufacturing country made guns by replicating the pistols supplied from Bihar.
Since the pistols manufactured by Babuli was almost equal in performance and quality of the Bihari-make pistols, there was heavy demands for his pistols whose price was much less than their Bihari counterparts.
For his job as a body-guard of a well-known contractor, Babuli was known as one of the leading dons in Jankia. The people of Jankia were afraid of him as he had employed some local anti-socials in his illegal business and paid them handsomely.
Though the people of Jankia were aware of the gun-manufacturing unit, they had preferred to remain silent as there was no action by the local police, the sources added.