The crime branch of Delhi Police claimed to have seized 2,715 kg of fire-crackers, worth nearly Rs 27 lakh, stored illegally in two godowns in west and north Delhi, and arrested two men in this connection. The godowns are located in residential colonies of Sarai Rohilla and Uttam Nagar and they did not have the licence to store fire-crackers. Police said they were also investigating whether ammonium nitrate was also stored at the Sarai Rohilla godown, an offence now under the Explosive Act.
“Eight police teams have been formed to keep a check on illegal storing of fire-crackers in the city. Not only does it pose a security concern but also a fire hazard. The seized fire-crackers have been kept at special storage depots at Gurgaon and Jhajjar in Haryana,” said Ashok Chand, DCP (crime).
Police received information that fire-crackers were stored in a godown in Sarai Rohilla on October 14 following which a raid was conducted, leading to seizure of 1,185 kg of fire-crackers. One Prashant Khandelwal (27) was arrested in this connection, Chand said. Two days later, police raided another godown in Uttam Nagar and seized 1,530 kg of fire-crackers, and arrested one Kapil Tyagi (32) for illegally storing them.
Khandelwal runs a hosiery shop in Sarai Rohilla while Tyagi owns a stationery shop in Uttam Nagar, said police.
“The accused told the interrogators that they used to make huge profits by selling fire-crackers in the past. They had procured the fire-crackers from a wholesaler in Gurgaon and then stored the merchandise in rented godowns,” Chand said.
Meanwhile, sources said several steps have been taken to ensure that Sadar Bazar, where most of the fire-cracker dealers are located, remains incident free. “We are in touch with the traders in the market, and they have also helped us in identifying many of the security hazards in the area. Besides the absence of adequate number of CCTV cameras in the market, another hazard is the illegal sale and stocking of fire-crackers in godowns in the vicinity. We are also maintaining a strict vigil in the border areas,” said an officer.