NIA: Maoists bury money in forests, in­vest in real es­tate

Probe Re­veals De­tails Of Fund­ing Ops In 90 Dis­tricts

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Neeraj.Chauhan @times­group.com

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”.

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