Demonetisation hits Maoists in Jharkhand, police keeping close watch
Ranchi, Nov 14 (IANS) Security agencies in Jharkhand are on high alert and are keeping a close watch on moves by Maoist guerrillas to turn their unaccounted money, collected in the form of levy, into “white”.
On November 10, police arrested Nand Kishore, a petrol pump owner from Bero on the outskirts of Ranchi. He was carrying Rs 25 lakh cash and going to deposit the money in the bank.
Police intercepted him and later arrested him. During interrogation, Kishore admitted that the money belonged to the banned Maoist organization, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) supremo Dinesh Gope. Kishore was to deposit the money in his account in the name of petrol and diesel sales.
In Jharkhand, Maoist guerrillas collect Rs 150 crore to Rs 200 crore in the form of levy, police said.
“Maoists collect 5 to 6 per cent levy from development, infrastructure, mining and other sources. This money is used by the Maoist organisations and a large amount also goes to Maoist leaders. The levy is collected in the form of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. The levy money is also used to purchase arms and other things,” a police officer involved in the Maoist operations told IANS.
He revealed that due to heavy collection of levy, around seven Maoist organisations are “flourishing”. These Maoist organisations operate in different districts he added.
After the demonetisation of Rs 500/Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, Maoists are using their white-collared network to turn their black money into white, the police officer said.
Police sources say that contractors, petrol pump owners, mining area contractors, officials, and leaders falling in Maoist bastion areas have been put under close watch.
Police sources said the police headquarters has recommended a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to assess the assets of 10 Maoist guerrillas who are learned to have earned “huge money” in the form of levy from two coal projects – Piparwar and Amprapali.
“The demonetisation is a big setback for the Maoists. We are keeping close watch on transactions of the money of Maoist guerrillas. We have activated our network to gather information of Maoist guerrillas’ transactions. We will also seek the help of Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate (ED),” M.S. Bhatia, IG operations and police spokesperson, told IANS.