NIA: Maoists bury money in forests, invest in real estate
Probe Reveals Details Of Funding Ops In 90 Districts
New Delhi: When it comes to stashing large caches of cash, Maoists prefer traditional methods, wrapping currency wads in layers of polythene, placing the hoards in metal boxes and concealing them in pits in remote forest areas, a National Investigative Agency probe has revealed.
Asix-month-long NIA investigation has thrown up details of Maoist funding operations in 90-odd districts affected by violent Left wing extremism (LWE), with the agency tracking investments in real estate, bullion and business, and money even being spent on education of children of top leaders.
The NIA probe is expected to set the stage for a massive crack- down on Maoist leaders, their “overground” sympathisers, fund managers and businesses run by them through proxies. It is already probing around 10 cases of LWE “terror funding” for the past several months and many people have been questioned. According to a conserva- tive estimate by different agencies, Maoists could be accessing funding of Rs 100 to Rs 120 crore every year. However, NIA is still trying to ascertain estimates.
Maoists have parked money in many ways. In some cases, money is left with the source itself and collected when re- quired; large amounts are secreted in forest areas and in some cases with frontmen.
NIA says Maoists are spending the funds by investing in gold biscuits, fixed deposits and purchase of real estate. Explaining the modus operandi, NIA asserts “the money is given to real estate agents, who are perhaps trustworthy former radicals or cadre, who invest and return money to Maoists as and when demanded”.
NIA says LWE groups extort money from individuals, small businesses, tendu patta contractors, government work contractors working on roads, bridges, schools and community centres. And in the coal and steel producing areas, owners of stone crushers, transporters and local contractors. There are “membership fees” gathered from villagers, details accessed by TOIsaid.
The probe further reveals that “considerable amounts are being spent on acquiring weapons, ammunition and explosives from the grey market”.