Financial network of Maoists exposed
Taking a leaf out of the underworld dons’ book, Maoists are now indulging in sophisticated money-laundering operations such as investing illicit funds in real estate and gold biscuits. For the first time, the security forces have unravelled details of Maoist finances and their sources of income. Documents available with the Express reveal that Maoists extort money from at least 14 sources ranging from individuals to industries.
These sources include educational institutions, liquor businessmen, Tendu leaf contractors and the mining industry. “Protection money” extracted from government servants as well as politicians also form part of the Naxals’ income. Security forces said industries, small and big, play a major role in sponsoring Naxal units in nine states affected by Left-wing extremism. According to the documents, an over-ground member of the outfit or an NGO is deputed to collect the extortion amount from these sources. Sources said the Maoists try to operate legitimate businesses, which generate their own profits and can be used as a front for money laundering.
In some cases, Maoists purchase vehicles and give them to their over-ground supporters and frontmen. Large amounts of cash is neatly packed in multiple layers of polythene kept inside metal boxes and dropped into tanks stacked away in dumps in forests. A Maoist document titled “Maintenance of Dumps” provides details of securing these money storage sites. In some instances, huge sums are parked in bank accounts of over-ground Maoist sympathisers.
Officials said the Maoists’ accounting system is similar to that of a professional book-keeper in the underworld. They have issued guidelines through a written document titled “Our Financial Policy”. It said the Maoists are collecting approximately Rs 140 crore from businesses in the affected areas. The amount to be collected each year is decided by the Maoists’ central committee. Each level of the Maoist cadre maintains a detailed statement of the collected money. A consolidated expenditure is prepared by the commander and submitted to the higher-ups at regular meetings. A considerable amount of money is being spent on propaganda in the so-called liberated zones where Maoists are running “Janatana Sarkars”.
A document says Naxals are even collecting “revolutionary” taxes from villagers in the areas under their control. A large share of the extortion money goes into the acquisition of weapons and explosives from the “grey arms market”, while some amount is being spent for the daily needs of the armed cadre. The security forces said a special investigation team should spearhead action to neutralise Maosits’ two major sources of fund — basic infrastructure and mining sectors.
“They should be provided with state protection and the security forces should instil confidence in them so that they inform the forces when an extortion notice is served.” Another suggestion is that the money being siphoned off from the government’s development schemes should be closely monitored.
Woman mastermind among seven convicted for running urban ‘operations’ of Naxalites
Raipur: Taking note of their subversive act of providing arms and logistical support to Naxalites, a special Raipur court on Tuesday awarded rigorous imprisonments (RI) of seven years to five persons, besides announcing jail terms of five years to three other sympathizers. The first five persons have already spent over five years in prison and will have to complete their pending sentence which comes out to be more than one year.
The Naxal sympathizers namely Naresh Khubwani, Ramesh Khubwani and Dayaram Sahu, on the other hand, are likely to appeal against the verdict. The three, notably, were out on bail at time of the verdict and have asked the court to uphold their bail pending an appeal in the HC. “We will appeal against the special court verdict. My clients have be given time till August 22 to surrender. We will approach the HC before that,” defense counsel of one of the sympathizer informed.
All of the eight were arrested in 2008 in wake of an unclaimed bag containing 22 wireless sets and around 100 country-made guns being recovered by state police. Cops had suspected that the cache was meant for delivery to Naxals, and tracked down the owner of the bag to a neighbourhood in Raipur. Consequently, Ms Meena Chaudhary and KS Shantipriya were arrested and interrogated, on which thy disclosed names of other accused.
PLGA personal summarily executed by C-60 paramilitaries while trying to surrender
MENDHARI (GADCHIROLI): The picturesque little hamlet of Mendhari, around 90-km from Gadchiroli town, was considered by the Naxalites as a safe haven. The tranquillity here had remained undisputed until Sunday when, for the first time, the villagers witnessed a lopsided bloodbath in which six women rebels were killed in police firing. The villagers, who claimed to have been thrashed by the C-60 commandos too, told TOI that four of the six girls, who seemed to be just 15-16 years old and were in olive greens, had dropped their weapons and held up their hands in a posture that suggested they wanted to surrender after being cornered by commandos in a paddy field just outside the village. The villagers had already witnessed two girls being shot dead a few minutes earlier in the blatant chase-and-kill drama. ”
A girl had been already shot dead in a paddy field just outside the village while another petrified girl had scaled up a tree, but the cops fired bullets at her from down. On seeing this, the remaining four ran in fear to an adjacent field where they held up their hands after dropping the weapons on the ground,” said an eyewitness. “The commandos, however, held the girls by their collars before pumping bullets at point blank range,” he said. The girls were accompanied by two male cadres. “Being in civil clothes, the cops failed to identify them even as they fled the spot on cycles from under their noses,” the eyewitness added. The group had come to the village take provisions of sugar and tea. The villagers claimed that the small group of Naxalites had been camping in the forests outside Mendhari for the last few days.
“The Naxalites come and go on their own free will. We have no control over them. The commandos from both Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra police too come here while patrolling. We are sandwiched between the Naxals and the cops,” said a local farmer. The peaceful history of the sylvan hamlet, which has 65-odd families most of them belonging to the Madia tribe, was shattered on Sunday when the villagers had gathered near a thatched hut which they considered their community temple, for prayers. On turning to the direction of the gun shots, the villages saw four girls in olive greens being chased by commandos through the trails in farms.
What happened subsequently was an unforgettable experience. “The commandos started dragging the villagers to the paddy fields and towards the bodies of the girls. The commandos started thrashing the villagers when we were unable to identify the girls. One of the villagers was lucky not to get shot when he started running for fear of being caned by the cops,” said another villager. The villagers claimed they were tortured by commandos and it continued until they were convinced that none of them could actually identify the killed Naxalites. “The commandos had also tried to drag a woman out of her house but when the villagers raised their voice she was left alone,” said another villager.
The villagers were angry on being asked to lift the mangled bodies of the slain Naxalites. “We were told to carry the bodies or face another round of beating. The commandos were also threatening us to ferry the bodies to the police station or arrange a tractor for them. Finally, someone brought a tractor and we had to mount the bodies on it,” said a villager. The cops had claimed that they had found 20 rucksacks and several weapons at the spot.But villagers TOI spoke to said that only eight small bags of bullets and water bottles were found.
Slain Naxalites identified
The Gadchiroli police have declared the names of three of the six Naxalites who were killed in the encounter at Mendhari on Sunday. One of them is 23-year-old Pramila Neitam who worked for the Chatgaon Local Guerilla Squad after being inducted into the movement in 2009. She worked for Platoon 20 and Company 10 before being assigned to Chatgaon LGS. Another Naxalite, identified as 18-year-old Reshma Gawde, worked for the Chatgaon Dalam after spending a long time as bodyguard of senior cadre Indrakka. Reshma had left her village as she was unwilling to marry the person arranged by her parents. 20-year-old Swaroopa Dhurve, deputy commander for Gadchiroli division’s supply team, is the third Naxalite who has been identified.