The Home Ministry said Monday that it has identified top Maoist leaders who have been diverting a chunk of the funds they receive to sponsor the education of their children in professional colleges and ensure that their “families live in comfort”.
To choke this funding, officials said, the Ministry has now set up a multi-disciplinary group comprising officers of intelligence and investigative agencies, and various tax departments.
According to officials, intelligence agencies have tracked specific cases of funds being allegedly diverted by Maoist leaders. They include:
* Pradyuman Sharma, a member of the Bihar Jharkhand Special Area Committee (BJSAC) of CPI (Maoist), allegedly paid Rs 22 lakh in 2017 as admission fee for his niece in a private medical college.
* Senior CPI (Maoist) leader from Bihar-Jharkhand, Sandeep Yadav, allegedly exchanged Rs 15 lakh during the demonetisation drive in November 2016.
* Arvind Yadav, a Naxal leader from Jharkhand, allegedly paid Rs 12 lakh as fee for his brother to study in a private engineering college.
“A large part of the money collected is diverted to build the personal wealth of its leaders whose children avail the best of education and families live in comfort, while the misled cadre toil in the jungles in the name of ideology. Their double standards have also been exposed by the fact they force young children to join their squads and strongly resist all kind of development activities,” a Home Ministry official said.
The ED has registered cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Sandeep Yadav, Arvind Yadav, Pradyuman Sharma and another Maoist leader Musafir Sahni. It has also seized property worth Rs 1.5 crore, 32 acres of land and cash of Rs 2.45 crore, including Rs 1 crore during demonetisation.
In 2013, the NIA seized and attached 1.37 acres of land allegedly belonging to Maoist leader Balmuri Narayana Rao alias Prabhakar in Karimnagar — he carries a reward of Rs 10 lakh.
In a statement issued Monday, the Home Ministry said, “The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) movement in the country is financed through a network of dubious activities, which include illegal levy collected from private contractors including those involved in execution of government works and schemes, mining contractors, transporters and owners of small and medium industries. Similarly, funds are said to be garnered through collections from illegal stone crushing and distribution of Naxal ideology papers.”
The new group formed to track this funding comprise officers of the Intelligence Bureau, National Investigation Agency, Income Tax, Department of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes and state intelligence agencies.
It will be headed by an additional secretary at the Centre and by an IB joint director at the state-level, officials said.
The process has also initiated for creating a separate vertical in the NIA for investigating important cases pertaining to LWE, the Ministry said.
Last month, the Home Ministry had redrawn the Maoist map, removing 44 districts and adding eight new ones. The move reduced the number of LWE-affected districts from 126 to 90.