The Naxal hypocrisy: Top LWE leaders amass personal wealth while cadres are told to shun life of comfort

New Delhi: As Mao Zedong said, the guerrilla must take to people like fish to water. Most Naxals in India haven't even seen a photograph of Chairman Mao. His ideology too is no more important. Naxal leaders aren't dreaming of a successful red revolution anymore, but are focusing on making money and indoctrinating gullible people in order to continue with their dubious activities.

Top Maoist leaders are aware that Naxalism is just a clarion call, just a brand name — they are extorting large amounts by taxing iron and coal mining contractors in order to increase personal wealth.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Ministry of Home Affairs — in order to choke the financial lifeline of the Left Wing Extremist (LWE) movement, to eliminate red terror, and to ensure the confiscation of properties amassed by Naxal leaders — has constituted multi-disciplinary groups comprising the Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and state police. The process has also been initiated for the creation of a separate vertical within the NIA for investigating important cases pertaining LWE.

The Naxal movement is reportedly being financed through a network of dubious activities undertaken by its leaders. These activities include levy from private contractors, including those involved in execution of government schemes, mining contractors, transporters and owners of small and medium industries. Similarly, funds are also generated through collections from illegal activities, such as mining in non-specified areas, illegal stone crushing and collection of "tendu pasta".

Interestingly, a large part of the money collected is also channeled towards the personal wealth of its leaders, whose children get the best of education, and whose families lead a life of comfort. This while the misled cadre toil away in the jungles in the cause of of a twisted ideology. A top MHA official said the central agencies have been coordinating and holding regular meetings, and actionable intelligence gathered so far reveals the true face of red terror.

Naxal leaders' finances

Pradyuman Sharma, member of the Bihar-Jharkhand Special Area Committee (BJSAC), paid Rs 22 lakh in fees for getting his niece admitted to a private medical college, investigation has revealed. Another BJSAC member Sandeep Yadav exchanged Rs 15 lakh during the demonetisation drive by the government. This was disclosed by the trader who exchanged the demonetised currency notes.

"Several stories of this kind reveal the real face of the LWE leadership. Sandeep Yadav's daughter studied at a reputed private institute and his son is studying in a private engineering college. Similarly, another senior Naxal leader Arvind Yadav paid Rs 12 lakh in fees for his brother to study in a private engineering college," investigation has unearthed.

"It may not out of place to say that the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is known to force young children to join their squads, and strongly resist all kinds of development activities — be it road construction, mobile tower erection, etc. However, their double standards are exposed by the kind of education and other facilities they provide to their own children and families," an MHA official said.

Since the multi-agencies' crackdown, the ED has registered four cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Sandeep Yadav, Pradyuman Sharma, Vinay Yadav and Musafir Sahni of CPI(Maoist), who are all members of BJSAC. The ED attached properties of Sandeep Yadav and Pradyuman Sharma valued at approximately Rs 1.5 crore. The central agencies have also seized Rs 1.45 crore in cash and properties including approximately 32 acres land, several buildings, two buses, 11 cars/jeeps, two tractors and one JCB in Bihar and Jharkhand under Section 25 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It has also been revealed that the central agencies also seized Rs 1 crore in cash during demonetisation from the Naxal leadership. A senior officer in the security establishment said the Naxals are also extorting money from small businessmen running rice and flour mills, grocery stores, clinics and liquor shops, calling it "protection money". "They are also involved in looting in certain areas they are operating. They must be raising more than Rs 150 crore annually," the MHA official said.

According to a research paper by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), the Maoists have been collecting not less than Rs 140 crore annually from a variety of sources. It said the Maoists have conceived ingenious ways of storing money to ensure its safety, have issued guidelines for the collection of funds, and have also circulated guidelines on expenditure and fiscal discipline.

"It has been learnt that money is also being given to real estate agents. Perhaps these are trustworthy former radicals or cadres, who would invest it in their business and return the money to the leadership as and when demanded. Also, in some cases, the Maoists are said to have purchased vehicles and given them to their supporters. These can be used for ferrying logistics, cadres and leaders as and when required. Besides, those allotted vehicles would also also pay a fixed amount to the outfit every month from their earnings. In some cases, the money has also been converted into gold biscuits. Large amounts are also being packed neatly in multiple layers of polythene, kept inside a metal box and then dropped into syntax tanks. Thereafter, these tanks are stacked away in dumps in forests," said a research paper authored by IDSA's PV Ramana.

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Updated Date: May 08, 2018 08:26:38 IST

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