In two different instances on Monday, the Virar police seized more than 100 detonators, 183 gelatin sticks, 8.4kg of ammonium nitrate and other explosives in Chandip area and Saiwan village. While two men were booked in the first case, a husband and wife duo were detained in connection with the seizure made at their bungalow.Police said while the explosives found in Chandip were being used for illegal sand mining in Virar, they are probing a possible terror angle in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

In the first instance, police seized 24 detonators and 8.4kg of ammonium nitrate that were stored in Chandip area. “The sand mafia were going to use the explosives to blast the river bed to illegally mine sand. We are also probing a possible terror angle as the nation is on a high alert due to the terror attack in Pulwama on February 14 ,” said police inspector Vivek Sonawane of Virar police station.

“We received a tip-off about large quantities of explosives being stored in Chandip area where illegal sand mining is rampant. We also seized an excavator, truck and other materials during the raid,” said Sonawane.

Two persons, the driver of the truck that was seized and the excavator, were booked under the Explosives Act, 1908, and the amended Mines and Minerals Act,1957.

In the other case, police seized 183 gelatine sticks, 103 detonators, non-electronic explosives and 21 bundles of fuses from a house in Saiwan village in Mandvi, Virar.

The owner of the bungalow, Tukaram Hadal and his wife, Bina, have been detained by the police for questioning.

“We are in the process of registering a first information report (FIR) and we are questioning the couple about where they sourced the explosives from and for what purpose,” said police sub-inspector Hemant Katkar, spokesman, Palghar district police.