Govt sets up multi-disciplinary group to choke Naxal funds

The government has set up a multi-disciplinary group to initiate action to choke funding sources of Naxals and to seize assets of their leaders, officials said today.

The group comprises officers from various central agencies and the state police departments, a home ministry official said.

It is headed by an additional secretary and has representatives from the Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, NIA and the CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) and the CBI, as also state intelligence departments and CID, the official added.

The home ministry has also initiated the process for creating a separate vertical in the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) for investigating important cases pertaining to the Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

The move follows information about a large part of extortion money allegedly collected by Naxals getting diverted towards personal wealth of their leaders, the officials said. It has been often alleged that the Naxal leaders’ children avail best of education and their families live in comfort, while they mislead cadres toiling away in jungles.

According to officials, the LWE movement in the country is financed through a large 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.

Investigations have revealed that one Pradyuman Sharma, member of Bihar-Jharkhand special area committee of the CPI (Maoists) paid Rs 22 lakh towards fees for admission of his niece in a private medical college last year.

Another member of the CPI (Maoists), Sandeep Yadav, gave Rs 15 lakh for exchange during the demonetisation, officials said.

Yadav’s His daughter studied in a reputed private institute and son is studying in a private engineering college, another official said.

Similarly, another senior leader Arvind Yadav paid Rs 12 lakh towards fees for his brother to study in a private engineering college.

The ED has registered cases against these four individuals under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, attached properties worth Rs 1.5 crore and 32 acres land, seized Rs 2.45 crore in cash, including Rs 1 crore during demonetisation, the official said.

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