Purulia Arms Drop: India’s dirty little secret?

Posted on by Rubi

Two decades back, a smuggler from Denmark flew a big haul of arms in an old Russian plane and mistakenly dropped it in a sleepy village in West Bengal, taking cover of the night. The villagers, reported it to the police, and shortly after, the discovery was splashed all over the media.

The army inspects the cache of arms dropped over Purulia

Niels Christian Nielsen alias Kim Davy, the Dane masterminded the air drop of unauthorised arm in Joupur Jhalda area under Purulia Disctrict on 19 December, 1995. But unfortunately, owing to the foggy weather or the some other technical misunderstanding, the crew ejected the parachute-tied arms that contained 2,500 AK-47 weapons and 1,500,000 rounds of ammunition over five villages and then flew to Phuket to have a holiday.

Neils Holck is the author of book De kalder mig terrorist (They call me Terrorist). He claims to have been involved in a 14-year journey since 1982

Neils Holck is the author of book De kalder mig terrorist (They call me Terrorist). He claims to have been involved in a 14-year journey since 1982

In popular folklore, the story goes that Davy, a devotee of the Anand Marg group, had brought in the arms to take over the leftist CPI(M) government of Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee in Bengal. Davy, in a media interview, claimed that he was a mere cog in a joint operation between RAW and Mi5 and then ruling Congress knew about the coup to usurp the West Bengal government by arming the Ananda Marg. He also referred to an anonymous MP who felicitated the clearance to authorise the drop.

One-time MI6 agent Peter Bleach and five Lativian crew members were arrested December 22, 1995, on charges of dropping arms in Purulia. They were later pardoned by the Vajpayee government.

Davy’s claims are doubtful, for the man may have used at least 36 aliases and 15 passports over a ten-year period, and was steeped in crime.

Some others say, such a move to destabilize a democratic government is unheard of India. The Ananda Marga refuted the allegations. Detractors theorised that the cache were actually supposed to be routed to Kachin rebels in Myanmar. While some others said the arms were actually meant for Bangladesh to help the Awami League in the upcoming elections.

According to a report published by the Hindustan Times on 30th December 2009, the end user certificate, a must checklist for any international arms deal, was signed by Mohammed Shubid Ali Bhuiyan, the then principal staff officer to Khaleda Zia.

Elections were due in Bangladesh in 1996, and the arms would have helped the Awami League with blessings from India. So India just went hush-hush about the drop. But we are never going to know the truth, for Bleach and Davy are unreliable story-weavers, and we are where we started: in the dark.

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About the Author

Whether it’s women issues, politics or the paranormal, Rubi has an opinion on everything. Art and entertainment interest her, too. Hindu College alumni, she has written for The Hindustan Times and The Financial Express. Every now and then, she loves picking up her camera to capture life and its various shades.