Nashik, Dec 15 In what was termed the biggest haul in the state since 2006, police in Maharashtra's Nashik arrested three men and seized a large cache of arms from a vehicle near a toll plaza on the Agra-Mumbai highway early on Friday, an officer said.
The seizure was effected near the Chandwad Toll Plaza and included at least two dozen rifles, 19 guns, including two foreign-made revolvers, and more than 4,100 live cartridges, said an officer from Nashik Rural Police Control.
He said that late on Thursday night, the vehicle's driver had filled diesel before flashing a gun at the petrol station attendant and fleeing without paying.
Police was alerted and they placed road blocks at strategic locations on the highway, finally managing to stop the vehicle near Chandwad.
A thorough search revealed the arms cache from specially-created compartments inside the vehicle.
According to preliminary investigations, the arms may have been smuggled from some factory in Uttar Pradesh, but its destination, the motive and people behind the operation was not known.
The Chandwad police have arrested three persons: Nagesh Bansode, 23, a resident of Nashik, Badri Badshal alias Sumit, 27 and Salman Amanullah Khan, 20, both from Sewri in south Mumbai.
Top police officials from Nashik and other cities have joined the investigations into the arms haul, the biggest since the arms seizure from Chandaud near Aurangabad in May 2006.
At that time, the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad had seized 43 kgs RDX, 50 hand grenades, 16 AK-47 army assault rifles and 3,000 live bullets from a vehicle.
Later, the investigations were taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the trial in the case continues before the designated courts.