Mumbai, Jan. 27: Mumbai police today seized a large cache of arms from a private locker at a State Bank of India branch in Bandra.
Officials of the Turner Road bank stumbled upon the weapons — 12 hand grenades with detonators, a sten gun and 1,045 rounds of ammunition — this afternoon while opening lockers lying untouched for 15 years in the presence of police, as is the norm.
The 11 others were empty. About 450 grams of a powdery substance was also inside the locker, which the police suspect could be RDX.
The police have begun a probe led by joint commissioner (law and order) Arup Patnaik and deputy commissioner (crime) D. Kamlakar.Preliminary investigations revealed the locker belonged to one Arun Ronaldo Vij. But when the police landed at Chimbai village in Bandra, Vij’s address as mentioned in the bank records, they found that no such person has ever stayed there.
The police believe a fake identity was used to open the account and deposit the arms.
According to information provided by the SBI, the locker, opened in 1984, was operated for the last time in 1990. The locker also contained four passbooks of different banks located outside Mumbai. The police’s bomb detection and disposal squad was called in to identify the arms and the powder.
With the cache dating back to 1990, the police suspect the weapons could belong to activists of the Khalistan movement, which was active between 1984 and 1990. One of the passbooks is of a bank in Punjab. The police are also investigating if the cache was linked to the 1993 Bombay blasts or the suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba plot to trigger explosions in the city uncovered earlier this month