Eighteen months after the Chhattisgarh police arrested over a dozen persons for providing support to the Maoists in urban areas, a special court last week convicted 13 of them in various Naxal-related cases.
Two among those convicted were PWD contractors in Bastar’s Kanker district. Dharmendra Chopra, his nephew Neeraj Chopra and 11 others were handed a seven-year jail term under various sections of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act last week.
It was the first instance where as many as 13 persons were convicted together as part of the urban network of Maoists in Chhattisgarh.
The case once again underlined the links between miners, local contractors and Maoists. Baliram Usendi, Chaitram Dhruv, Ravi Gawde and Ramkumar Mandavi were among the others convicted in the case.
The court observed that the culprits provided financial and logistical support to the Maoists, supplied them with electronic items, and helped them travel in urban areas.
They also conducted reconnaissance of various places for Maoists and facilitated their visits to doctors in cities for treatment.
ADG (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta had earlier said the Chopras — Dharmendra and Neeraj — arranged meetings of top mining companies with the rebels for obtaining a relaxation on the ban imposed by the Maoists on mining in the region.
The police had then named a prominent shop of Raipur from where convicts purchased sophisticated goods including Motorola wireless sets, memory chips and supplied to Maoists. “We have seized bills of these transactions,” Gupta had said.
They had also created an independent power centre in Kanker region, which was involved in extortion, raising funds for Maoists and other crimes.