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MCC guns down contractor

Ranchi, Dec. 19: Suspected Maoist Communist Centre activists gunned down a Youth Congress leader-turned-contractor near Bhandra in Lohardaga district this morning.

The contractor, Anand Jha, was on a routine inspection of a road being constructed by him around 9.30 am, when a group of four armed men forcibly took him to a lonely spot a few yards away, police sources said, quoting eyewitnesses.

The contractor was then shot twice on his face, from automatic weapons, at point-blank range, the sources said. The body was dumped near a culvert, they added.

The Naxalites left behind a pamphlet on the body and walked away from the site as neither the passers-by nor those working on the road tried to stop them.

Residents of the area, however, informed the police, who reached the spot minutes after the killing.

The Naxalites’ pamphlet accused Jha of resorting to corrupt practices and raping women labourers at his construction site.

Jha had recently bagged a prize contract for constructing a road from Kadam Chowk to the banks of the Ghag river.

The victim’s father, Keshav Jha, is an agriculture officer in the Naxalite-affected Lohardaga district, sources said. The extremist outfit had demanded a certain amount as levy from the victim.

Sources said Jha had been on the hit list of the MCC for some time and that the outfit had issued a “death sentence” against him after holding a trial at a jan adalat (people’s court) recently.

The 27-year-old contractor was the former district president of the Youth Congress.

Many other government officials and contractors figure on the hit lists of Naxalite organisations such as the People’s War and the MCC.

The organisations have also issued death sentences against the officials and contractors in their jan adalats, which have reportedly become routine in Naxalite-infested areas.

Inspector general of police Rajiv Kumar, however, denied that jan adalats are held frequently.

“They do hold jan adalats. But it will not be fair to say they are being held frequently,” he said. “Whenever we have a tip-off on the courts being held, we swoop on the place.”

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