Kerala govt ropes in central agencies to probe foreign make bullets case

The bullets were found near the Muppathadi bridge along the Kulathupuzha-Madathara stretch in the Kulathupuzha forest region

Kollam/Thiruvananthapuram: The recovery of foreign make bullets from Kulathupuzha along the Thiruvananthapuram-Thenmala State Highway in Kerala’s Kollam district on Saturday has been viewed seriously by the Kerala government. The state government has decided to rope in central agencies and other states for the probe to be monitored by its anti-terror squad DIG.

One of the 14 bullets has the inscription 'POF' (Pakistan Ordnance Factories), raising serious security concerns, the officials said.

The bullets of the Indian security forces would be marked with IOF (Indian Ordnance Factories).The 14 bullets were wrapped in a newspaper and put in a plastic cover. Twelve bullets were found in a pouch, and the remaining two outside.

Preliminary investigation has confirmed that these bullets are the type used by the military and police forces. The 7.62mm bullets are used in long-range rifles.

Director General of police Loknath Behera on Sunday said the investigation in the case had been handed over to the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and the central agencies informed about the bullets and their assistance sought.

A day after the 14 live bullets were abandoned in Kulathupuzha, around 60 km from here bordering Tamil Nadu, a two-member team of the Military Intelligence from Ernakulam reached the town for investigation on Sunday, police said.

Bullets | Kollam

Behera said ATS Deputy Inspector General of Police Anoop Kuruvila would monitor the probe from Kulathupuzha.

"We have handed over the investigation to the ATS yesterday itself. We need to coordinate the probe with other states also. I have discussed the matter with my counterparts," he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Though he did not elaborate on which are the states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which share borders with Kerala, are likely to be among those involved in the probe.

"We have also informed the central agencies about the matter. We need their assistance since there are some markings of foreign-make on the bullets," Behera said.

The bullets were found near the Muppathadi bridge along the Kulathupuzha-Madathara stretch in the Kulathupuzha forest region around 3pm on Saturday.

Kulathupuzha, around 60 km from Kollam, is in the eastern side of the state bordering Tamil Nadu.

Madathara native Joshy and his friend Ajish, a native of Bharathannur in Thiruvananthapuram, spotted the suspicious plastic cover. They first prodded the plastic cover with a stick. After they informed the cops, a huge posse of police, forensic-fingerprint experts, bomb squad and armour wing rushed to the spot and examined the bullets.

Checks using metal detectors were also conducted at the forest region near Muppathadi bridge.

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