‘Arrested Maoists were in touch with several politicians and public representatives in eastern UP’.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is preparing to initiate a money laundering probe into the funding of a Maoist module recently unearthed by Uttar Pradesh STF in Ballia district. The questioning of five Maoists, including a woman, arrested by the STF earlier this month has hinted towards a money trail linked to Left-wing extremists’ sympathisers present in urban areas in North India, including National Capital Region, sources said, adding that ED’s intelligence unit in Delhi has already started the groundwork in the case. ED sleuths are also likely to question key Maoist leader Pramod Mishra, who had visited Ballia just before his arrest in Bihar’s Gaya on 10 August.
Investigations into the case have revealed that the arrested Maoists were in touch with several politicians and public representatives in eastern UP, who were also acting as facilitators for arranging financial support for them through alleged money laundering, sources said. For the past few years, UP was considered to be free from Maoist activities, but the fresh arrests raise doubts that districts of Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra may have once again become recruitment zones for the Maoists. The 2004 Maoist attack in Chandauli district in which 22 PAC jawans were killed is remembered as the biggest strike ever in the state by Left wing extremists. The detection of the Maoist module in UP comes close to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raiding multiple premises in Bihar in a case relating to seizure of deadly arms and ammunition from cadres of CPI (Maoist). The NIA action relates to an earlier seizure of 2 AK-47 rifles, 5 magazines and 460 rounds of 7.62×39 mm live ammunition, which were found buried in the forest area near Bariakala village in West Champaran district. The NIA said in a statement that raids were conducted at nine locations in East Champaran, Sheohar, Saran, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts of the state to trace the links of Ram Babu Ram @ Rajan, the “Zonal Commander” of CPI (Maoist), and Ram Babu Paswan @ Dhiraj, also an active cadre of the proscribed organisation. The two were arrested by the state police on 4 May and sent to judicial custody. The case was subsequently handed over to the NIA.
During the current crackdown on two premises connected with the two jailed accused and seven premises of other suspects in the case, several digital devices, including mobile phones, a tablet, HD card and memory card, along with SIM cards, a pocket diary containing mobile numbers, pages containing Naxal content, as well as other incriminating documents were seized. The NIA is examining the various gadgets and documents seized in raids and is continuing with its investigations in the case.