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NIA begins crackdown on Maoists funding

Author: Neeraj Chauhan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 9, 2018
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-begins-crackdown-on-maoists-funding/articleshow/66137612.cms

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted raids at 15 locations in Jharkhand and West Bengal in its probe related to Left Wing Extremism Terror (LWE) terror funding.

The residences and offices in Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur and Durgapur of managers of different companies associated with purchase and transport of coal in Amrapali and Magadh coalfields were raided for their alleged role in providing funds to LWE organization TPC (Tritiya Prastuti

During searches on Tuesday, NIA seized documents pertaining to payments made to Amrapali and Magadh Area Committee, bank account details and fixed deposits, deduction of levy amount, computers, hard discs, mobiles containing accounts of companies, diaries containing entries of money paid to TPC and PLFI (Peoples Liberation Front of India), cash Rs. 68 lacs in Indian currency besides 10,000 Singapore dollars and 1300 US dollars along with Rs 86,000 demonetized currency.

TOI had exclusively reported on September 14 that after crippling the Kashmir terror funding, NIA is going for a major crackdown on Maoists funding.

The report, exclusively accessed by TOI, reveals how crores collected through different sources in 90 odd naxalism-affected districts are used by the leadership for their personal gains, investment in the real estate, bullion and businesses.

NIA report says LWE groups collect money from individuals, small business houses, big industries, tendu patta contractors, government works like - railway, road, bridge, school and community centres. In the coal and steel producing areas, Naxals extort money from stone crusher owners, transporters and local contractors. They also collect funds in the form of membership fee from villagers while ration supply, daily need items are taken from sympathizers.

They rob banks, kidnap people and loot public/private entities to augment their finances apart from putting a “levy” on various mining groups, it adds.

Sometimes, they also ask or threaten a local politician to provide logistics in large quantities – in the form of clothing, shoes, rice, lentils and oil, which are passed on to the Maoists through overground supporters.

According to a conservative estimate by different agencies Maoists must be getting funding of Rs 100 to Rs 120 crore every year. However, NIA is still trying to ascertain the exact amount.

Maoists have different ways of parking or hiding their money, NIA probe has found. While in some cases, money is left with the source itself and collected whenever required; large amounts are neatly packed in multiple layers of polythene, kept inside a metal box, and then concealed in the forest by digging pits. In several areas, the money is parked with the trustworthy overground sympathizers and front-men.

This money, NIA says, Maoists are spending in different ways. They are converting the funds into gold biscuits, fixed deposits, purchase of real state which includes flats, plots and other immovable properties. Explaining the modus operandi, NIA asserts that “the money is given to the real estate agents, who are perhaps trustworthy former radicals or cadres, who would invest it in their businesses and return the money to the Maoists as and when demanded”.

A large amount, NIA has found, is also being used for the “higher education of the children of top Naxalite leaders”. This, officials say, has lately become the reason for differences between senior Maoist leadership and the middle level cadres.

The probe further reveals that “considerable amounts are being spent on acquiring weapons, ammunition and explosives from the grey arms market, while some money is spent on daily needs of cadres as well”.

A very small amount is spent on the printing of propaganda books, prisoners’ assistance or assistance to the families of Maoists or medicines.

The government has already formed a multi-disciplinary group which has officers from central agencies, including from the IB, NIA, CBI, ED and DRI, and state police to crack down on the funding of Naxals.
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