A boat carrying AK-47 rifles, explosives and bullets was found at the Harihareshwar coast in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Thursday, India Today reported.
Superintendent of Police Ashok Dudhe confirmed that rifles were found on the boat near the beach at the Harihareshwar town. The police are investigating the matter, he said.
The Maharashtra Police has issued a high alert in the district.
A team of the state Anti-Terrorism Squad has left for Raigad to look into the matter, ANI reported.
Raigad MLA Aditi Tatkare said that she has requested Maharashtra chief minister for a special inquiry into the incident, NDTV reported. She pointed out that the “security scare” has occurred before Janmashtamhi and Ganeshotsav festivals.
“Tomorrow is Dahi Handi, Ganeshotsav is just 10 days away,” she said. “People come here during these festivals. Security is an important issue.”
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that there was currently no confirmation of any terror angle, but added that the police will investigate the matter thoroughly.
Fadnavis, who is also the state’s home minister, said that the boat belongs to an Australian woman named Hana Lordorgan, whose husband James Hobert was commanding the vessel. The name of the boat is Lady Han, he said.
“The boat was going from Muscat towards Europe,” he told reporters. “On June 26, the boat engine’s broke down and the people on it gave a distress call. A Korean Navy ship rescued them and handed them over to authorities in Oman.”
Fadnavis said that due to a high tide, the boat drifted towards the Maharashtra coast.
The deputy chief minister said that all precautions will be taken as per norms and additional force will be deployed if necessary.
An unidentified Coast Guard official said that the vessel was a yacht registered in the United Kingdom. The weapons found on it had been procured from a Dubai-based privately contracted armed maritime security firm, according to the official.
Small weapons are permitted on yachts as they move slowly, the official added.
The people on board the yacht reportedly did not carry the weapons with them when they abandoned the vessel. The official said that when authorities contacted the maritime security firm, they were told that the serial numbers of the weapons recovered matched with those in their inventory.