Realty attracts rebels too…

Maoists in Jharkhand are making alarming forays into real estate, covertly investing levy money collected from businessmen and contractors into buying landed property in capital Ranchi and steel city Jamshedpur, besides towns in Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.

The secret spilled after police nabbed two couriers of dreaded CPI(Maoist) leader Bada Vikas from Kanke Road in Gonda thana area of the capital on March 16. Devendra Kujur and Bhavani Oraon, natives of Latehar, told police they had come to Ranchi to facilitate buying of land on behalf of Vikas.

Their plan was fairly simple, but ingenious at the same time. Vikas had intimidated a Palamau-based road contractor into coughing up Rs 17 lakh as levy and the duo were told to pay the money to a person in Ranchi who would invest the amount to erase the crime trail. Police, however, seized the money before it was used to buy land in Latma, on the fringes of the capital.

 Bada Vikas, who hails from Doki village in Manika block of Latehar, is wanted in more than a dozen of cases of Maoist violence, including an ambush on CRPF in Katia forest of the district during which bombs were planted in the stomach of dead jawans. He had also masterminded an abortive attempt to derail the Palamau Express and launched an attack on police in Hurhuri by orchestrating serial landmine blasts.

Vikas is a member of the Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee that operates in south Garhwa, south Latehar, Palamau and Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh bordering areas. He is considered close to CPI(Maoist) politburo member Arvind.

ADG (operations) S.N. Pradhan conceded that Bada Vikas had taken interest in landed property. “The money was meant to be delivered to a close aide in Ranchi,” he said.

Referring to reports prepared by the Union home ministry, Pradhan said several top Maoist leaders across the country were found to be indulging in real estate.

“In Jharkhand, they have already created a parallel economy with levy money. They purchase land and immovable properties in the name of close aides or relatives. They also lend money to builders at high interest rates. Sustained anti-rebel operations have made their future uncertain. Hence, they are juggling with retirement options,” the ADG added.

Bada Vikas, who has a palatial house at his native Doki village – the estimated worth of which is Rs 30 lakh, is not alone in his fetish for property, said sources in police.

Rebel Kundan Pahan, who is no longer associated with the CPI(Maoist) and operates independently, is said to have amassed property worth crores in Tamar and its neighbouring areas. Nakul Yadav, a close aide of Maoist top gun Arvind, has immovable properties in Lohardaga, Chatra and Latehar in the name of his associates and close kin.

Hardcore zonal commander Nitish Yadav, alias Mantri, who was gunned down by security forces in Gumla two months ago too was known to invest levy money in real estate.

Vikas, police said, also had a knack for online gambling. Kujur, who managed most of his financial transactions, told police that Vikas lost around Rs 3 lakh in cyber frauds.

“A year ago, Vikas had received an SMS that his mobile number had won a cash prize of for which he needed to deposit processing fee. The fee was paid online, but the prize never came,” a policeman quoted from Kujur’s confessions.

Credits The Telegraph

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