Citizens' Issues
Hyderabad blasts: How warnings about ammonium nitrate by former union secretary were ignored

Every day's delay in tightening the oversight on ammonium nitrate has had that much of a disastrous impact. Should the government once again fail to learn these lessons now and wait for the next blasts to occur, asks EAS Sarma

Anguished over the loss of lives in the Hyderabad blasts on Thursday, EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India (GoI) has again raised the issue of uncontrolled movement of ammonium nitrate (AN) in the country. Since 2006, the former secretary has been writing letters to the home ministry, the National Security Agency (NSA), the ministry for industrial development and the Andhra Pradesh government about the possible misuse and uncontrolled movement of AN in the country. And yet the government continued to ignore the warnings which led to the blasts in Hyderabad.


Mr Sarma, in a letter written to the prime minister, said, “When I wrote this (he wrote to the home secretary in May 2012 and again in December 2012, about the need to keep an eye on import and movement of AN) letter, I sincerely hoped that someone somewhere in the corridors of power in your government would feel responsible and act. My hope continues to be a mere unfulfilled wish, while innocent lives continue to be lost as a result of the omissions on the part of the authorities.”


The twin blasts ripped through a crowded market in Hyderabad on Thursday, leaving 16 dead and over 120 injured.


“In the past, there were instances of AN trucks missing but there is no information on the outcome of the cases registered! It is possible that the chemical has gone into the hands of the extremist groups. Even one kg of AN in the hands of an extremist could cause havoc and lead to loss of innocent lives as it has been the case with most instances of terrorism  during the last several years,” he added.


Referring to the use of AN in Hyderabad blasts, Mr Sarma says, “A stitch in time may have saved nine”. Here are the questions raised by the former secretary to the prime minister...


  1. Why should such large quantities of ammonium nitrate be permitted to be imported in the first instance? Are there anti-national groups behind the unusual surge in the imports during the last three years?
  2. Why has the government framed the ammonium nitrate rules in such a casual manner as to permit the chemical being pilfered in the name of “allowed losses”, only to pass it on to the terrorist groups in different parts of the country?
  3. Why has the government left it to the importing firms under Rule 18(1) to import the chemical in a loose form, not in sealed bags? Is there a hand of someone having links with the terrorist groups in giving a final shape to such a set of loosely-worded clause?
  4. Rule 12(5) (j) has clearly stipulated certain ceilings on the quantity of the chemical that can be stored at a place. It is 200 tonnes as it is mandated in the Rule. Each storage godown at Vizag has a storage capacity of 20,000 tonnes. There are at least six such storage godowns in this city. There must be a similar situation in other cities as well. Have the authorities failed to enforce this Rule? If so, why?
  5. Table 1 in Schedule III of the Rules stipulates the ‘safe’ distances for the storage of the chemical. It is doubtful whether this stipulation has been complied with anywhere. Has there been a failure on the part of the authorities?
  6. Countrywide, some surprise inspections should be conducted to see as to what extent these Rules have been enforced. How many such inspections have been conducted and how many of those involved in storage, movement and trade of the chemical have been proceeded against, for non-compliance?
  7. The Rules stipulate approved “route plans” for the trucks carrying the chemical but, despite my repeated appeals, the concerned ministries have not enforced this by making it mandatory for the trucks to be fitted with GPS and for the drivers to report to the police stations en route the approved route. Why has the ministry of home affairs not acted on this suggestion?
  8. I had suggested to the home ministry that it should direct the states to verify the antecedents of the importers, the stevedores, the owners of the storage godowns, the transport operators, the drivers of the trucks and the wholesale and retail vendors of the chemical. It is possible that there are many weak links in this chain that present potential threats to public safety. Why has MHA not ordered such verification?
  9. Both USA and OECD have adopted stringent protocols for the manufacture, storage, transport and retail trade in ammonium nitrate. I have made these available to the ministry of industrial policy & promotion. No tangible action seems to have been taken on my letters. Why?
  10. There have been instances of theft of ammonium nitrate in both small quantities and truckloads at different places in the country. If the cases involving this can be analysed holistically, the pattern of its use or misuse can be arrived at. I have cited such instances in my correspondence with MHA. Why has this not been looked into?


The way the government has moved in notifying this chemical as an ‘explosive’ first, then issuing the Rules, has not been one driven by a sense of urgency and determination to regulate the use of the chemical. “Every day’s delay in tightening the oversight on ammonium nitrate has had that much of a disastrous impact. Should the government once again fail to learn these lessons now and wait for the next blasts to occur?” the former secretary questioned.


He said, “While post-blast investigations are extremely important and they need to be carried out in a highly professional manner, the pre-emptive measures that I have listed out will help minimise the scope for the anti-social groups to carry out their dastardly acts of terrorism.


Sometimes, a stitch in time could save nine later! Had MHA taken action earlier, perhaps the Hyderabad blasts would not have taken place, as Ammonium Nitrate would not have been available easily."


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Is anyone keeping eye on ammonium nitrate movement in India, asks EAS Sarma




4 years ago

TOI dt.26-2-2013 has Brought out many Security Lapses. (1)With Terror Strike in hyderabad -Police Investigation revealed Many CCTV Cameras installed in Hyderabad Parks ,which are visited by 50,000 People everyday with Famlies, are not working.When Police washed off its Hands by issuing notices ,which is used conveniately to Close those Parks immediately thenon.(2)4 CCTV Cameras at BusDepot and Traffic Places at terror strike place are not working fully.with little views avilable ,Police tries to indentify the Terror Plotter.But they are not able to Expand the Visuals.(3)Police Intends to take US FBI help ,if Gujarat FSL fails in helping them. (4)How INDIA made Thousands of CCTV Cameras Installed without envisasing and getting Advanced Equipment required to Fully Study Camera Footages.(5)PIL filed in AP High Court on the Subject on Govt. failure can be utilised by all by Filing Adjoiners to PIL by Money Life ,(a)on Ammonia Nitrate(b) Misuse of Police by Politicians for their Securing ignoring Common indians-with whose Taxes Police are Paid but Services Misutiled (c)NonReduction of VIP Security Suggested by Supeme Court , etc so that HC can study all angles and Useful Orders may come out

Shantharam Shenai

4 years ago

Alfred Nobel who invented TNT regretted his own action, after seeing bad obituary after it was mistakenly announced he had died ( his brother had died ) INDIA like other states kept their DUAL USE Ammonium Nitrate factories going by promoting it as a necessary component of chemical farming methods. The price paid is now beginning to being understood with damage to health, ground water, river water & soil ecology also. The efficacy of organic farming methods is coming to the fore with extraordinary record breaking results being demonstrated for wheat, potato, Sitaphal, etc. Soon, it will become obvious that AN is unnecessary of agriculture. Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan


4 years ago

Had I been the PM I would have stopped everything overnight.


4 years ago

GOI is desiring friedship with Pakistan, with False notion that continuing Dialogue is better to discuss some Problems and Trade Improvement telling that they themselves are suffering by Terrorists in their Region.As Pakistan is Protecting India's most wanted terrorists in Pakistan ,as revealed by Kasab.Sayyeed,required by us ,is not allowed access by us ,Pakistan telling that GOI has not given sufficient informatio, convincable to Pakistan Courts that he is involved in terror activities in India. ( 2 ) IM People arested by Police in a state, do not know that they are IM activists Planning Terror Strikes.Full Computerisation of all offenders ,with their Photos,is to be done with Facility by intellence Wings in all States to access those details throgh Server.It helps in Sychronising data, link up and Consider their crimes in Each one's Life.This gives useful clues.


4 years ago

As far as i know, PM keeps repeating the same mundane dumb comment "the culprits must be punished" for all terrorist activities, be it Mumbai attack or german bakery attack or jhaveri bazar attack and now this hyd attack. he cannot and does not say or do anything more. When the Head is this way, what can you expect from his deputies?? Its better for each citizen to take care for themselves wherever they go, i dont think govt will ever protect us....we are by ourselves now to be safe...


4 years ago

Maybe if courts would have intervened this could have been prevented. But this raises a bigger question- does the government has any moral responsibility or acumen to take preemptive action or it will act only when compelled to do so. Shame on them


nagesh kini

In Reply to ASHISH SINGHAL 4 years ago

At this rate of failure of the governance on the part of the Executive we may have to call upon the only two other Constitutional bodies - the Judiciary and the CAG to take over the reins of administering the vast territory. They also will find it a handful considering the mess that the politicians of all hues and colours have left us in! God help us!

nagesh kini

In Reply to ASHISH SINGHAL 4 years ago

At this rate of failure of the governance on the part of the Executive we may have to call upon the only two other Constitutional bodies - the Judiciary and the CAG to take over the reins of administering the vast territory. They also will find it a handful considering the mess that the politicians of all hues and colours have left us in! God help us!


4 years ago

When you have dumb PM, whose only credential has been stolen glory from PV Narasimha Rao and whose only ambition is to serve the dame and to visit Pakistan , sacrificing the security of India in pursuit of a mirage.


4 years ago

Shocking to see that even Former Union Secretary's Advises - very essential, as Proved - are not Acted upon by Govt.Even after his repeated Follow ups with Top Authortative People in India.
Expect that atleast PM will Respond.

Aftek properties under the hammer. Another one from the infamous 'K-10 club' goes belly-up

Properties and even the headquarters of Aftek, the Ranjit Dhuru promoted company are under the hammer since last year. However, the lenders still cannot find a buyer. Aftek is another one of Ketan Parekh's 10 stocks which have self-destructed

Aftek (erstwhile Aftek Infosys), one of 10 chosen stocks of Ketan Parekh that was ramped by the speculator and later came to known as K-10 stocks, is under hammer since last year. Lenders such as Bank of India (BoI) and State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ) are trying to find buyers for Aftek's property in Pune's Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park and the company’s head office in Dadar, central Mumbai.


According to sources, till date SBBJ has not been able to find a buyer for the company’s main office ‘Aftek House’, a six storied commercial building with an area of 269.23 sq meters located near Shivaji Park on Veer Savarkar Marg in Mumbai's Dadar area, one of the prime locations in the city.


SBBJ, under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, took over Aftek's head office in February 2012. It then put Aftek House under the hammer in May 2012. The reserve price for the deal was Rs64.44 crore. However, it could not find suitable buyer. (


The bank, then again issued tender-cum-auction sale notice on 14 August 2012 for selling Aftek House. Despite lowering the reserve price to Rs56.57 crore from Rs64.44 crore, the lender could not find any buyer. (


Similarly, during February 2012, BoI, put Aftek's plot in Pune’s Hinjewadi area under the hammer. The reserve price for the plot admeasuring 9,340 sq meters was Rs32 crore. The auction on 14 March 2012 also failed to get suitable buyer. JVD Recovery Agency, the agent appointed for the auction while confirming the news that the property is still on sale has asked us to give an offer!


Aftek was started by Ranjit Dhuru, a scion of a family that owned large tracts of land in the Dadar area. There are two roads named after the Dhurus, with one sub-area is known as Dhuru Wadi (Dhuru colony). The main architect of Aftek was also staying in his 200-year old ancestral house at Dadar.


Ranjit Dhuru is the chairman, chief executive officer and managing director of Aftek. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he was paid Rs75.02 lakh as compensation during 2012.


Fate of the K-10 stocks...

Global Telesystems, Zee Telefilms, Himachal Futuristic Communication (HFCL), Silverline, Satyam Computers, SSI, Aftek Infosys, DSQ Software, Ranbaxy and Pentamedia were Ketan Parekh’s favourite stocks. Using the money from Global Trust Bank, Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank and other sources, Parekh inflated share prices of these companies.


Soon after the 2001 scam was exposed, the rigged shares lost their values so heavily that thousands of people lost their savings. Some banks including BoI also lost significant amounts of money. Global Trust Bank and the Madhavpura Cooperative were driven to bankruptcy.


Barring Zee and Ranbaxy, all other K-10 stocks self destructed. Ranbaxy has been sold to a Japanese company. Global Tele is alive but struggling to continue a viable business. Satyam turned out to be a bigger scam and got taken over. DSQ is defunct. HFCL (name changed to Dynamic Infotel), Pentamedia, Silverline and Aftek Infosys are nominally quoted. SSI promoters sold off its their software business converted the company into a shadowy real-estate company called PVP Ventures.



Ramesh Poapt

4 years ago

Mr chandu, ML duty is to present the big story which none covered.ML is proactively trying to unmask the hidden scams status,in the best interest of small investors.
If u want to find a phoenix,you may dig deeper at yr risk. some magazines/brokers play trap in penny stocks in a big way! adb!

Nifty, Sensex still not out of the woods: Friday Closing Report

Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking

The market closed flat with a negative bias amid highly volatile trade as cautiousness prevailed ahead of the Union Budget and sluggish global cues. Yesterday, we had mentioned that the Nifty’s support is at 5,820. Today, the benchmark made a low of 5,836. Yet, strong downward momentum is lacking. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 56.47 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 712:770.


The market opened mixed tracking negative cues from Europe and the US in overnight trade. On the other hand, the Asian markets were up in morning trade as investors picked up stocks at lower levels after yesterday’s sharp decline in the markets.


The Nifty opened 14 points lower at 5,838 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,342, 17 points higher. Buying in oil & gas, pharma and power stocks pushed the indices higher in initial trade.


However, volatility saw the benchmarks moving in and out of the red before dropping to their lows at around 10.30am. The Nifty fell to 5,836 and the Sensex went back to 19,290 at their respective lows.


A fair degree saw the market fluctuating between gains and losses as trade progressed. A positive opening of the European indices supported domestic investor sentiment in the post-noon session.


Buying in banking and healthcare stocks helped the indices hit their intraday highs at round 2.30pm with the Nifty rising to 5,874 and the Sensex going up to 19,402. However, choppiness ahead of the Union Budget kept a cap on the gains.


The market closed a tad lower, and in the red for the second day, on nervousness ahead of the Union Budget next week. The Nifty settled two points down (0.03%) to 5,850 and the Sensex settled eight points (0.04%) at 19,317.


While the BSE Sensex and Nifty closed flat with a negative bias, the broader indices were marginally in the positive. The BSE Mid-cap index added 0.02% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.11%.


The top sectoral gainers were BS Realty (up 1.35%); BSE TECk (up 1.33%); BSE IT (up 0.83%); BSE Healthcare (up 0.78%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.58%). The main lowers were BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.41%); BSE Auto (down 0.55%); BSE Metal (down 0.53%); BSE PSU (down 0.29%) and BSE Consumer Durables (down 0.15%).


Fourteen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The major gainers on the Sensex were Bharti Airtel (up 4.64%); Wipro (up 2.43%); Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 1.96%); ICICI Bank (up 1.22%) and Infosys (up 1.06%). The chief losers were Hindustan Unilever (down 2.60%); Coal India (down 2.31%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.09%); HDFC (down 1.84%) and Tata Motors (down 1.60%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Strides Arcolab (up 5.46%) and Gujarat Fluorochomicals (up 5.37%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Jet Airways India (down 5.81%) and United Breweries (down 4.61%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Rupa & Company (up 19.97%) and Sacheta Metals (up 19.94%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Alka India (down 14.29%) and Winsome Textile Industries (down 13.90%).


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 25 ended in the green. The key gainers were Bharti Airtel (up 4.51%); DLF (up 3.51%); Wipro (up 2.65%); Power Grid Corporation (up 2.25%) and Sun Pharma (up 1.57%). The top losers were HUL (down 2.79%); Coal India (down 2.69%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 2.23%); Maruti Suzuki (down 2.13%) and HDFC (down 1.85%).


Markets across Asia settled mixed following reports that euro-area services and manufacturing declined more-than-expected in February. Besides, the Federal Reserve’s Bank of St Louis president James Bullard said the US unemployment rate may fall to 6.5% by mid-2014 which may prompt the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate.


The Jakarta Composite rose 0.40%; the KLSE Composite gained 0.50%; the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.68%; the Straits Times added 0.02% and the Seoul Composite was up 0.18%. On the other side, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.51%; the Hang Seng dropped 0.54% and the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.12%.


At the time of writing, CAC of France was up 1.25%, DAX of Germany rose 0.36% and UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.57%. At the same time, the US stock futures were in the positive, indicating a firm opening for the US markets later in the day.


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares aggregating Rs1,213.57 crore on Thursday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs228.78 crore.


The RP Sanjiv Goenka group-owned tea and plantations company, Harrisons Malayalam, plans to develop rubber plantations on 4,000-5,000 hectares in Ghana on long-term lease basis. The company would invest nearly Rs300 crore for setting up the plantations. The stock closed 1.14% higher at Rs57.45 on the NSE.


Tata Chemicals’ customised fertilisers unit at Babrala, Uttar Pradesh, is facing hard times. The 1.3-lakh-million-tonne production facility is operating below half its installed capacity because of lack of demand. The stock fell 0.60% to close at Rs330 on the NSE.


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