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Doctor in arms racket

Patna, March 1: Central intelligence and Special Task Force officers today unearthed an ammunition cache in the heart of Patna meant for the Nepal Maoists rounded up earlier this week after a raid in the Patrakar Colony.

The cache of 230 detonators, other devices used to set off landmines, 7,571 rounds of cartridges, including 12-bore guns, .38-bore revolvers, .32-bore revolvers and AK-47s, was recovered from the custody of a medical practitioner.

Inspector-general (operations) Neelmani said police learnt that weapons were being routed to Nepal from Patna during interrogation of the Maoists. The police found telephone numbers and addresses of Patna residents in their diaries, including that of Anand Prakash, the doctor.

Prakash’s house was raided last evening and the weapons found. He has been detained and is being questioned to further uncover the links between Naxalites and Nepal Maoists.

The seized weapons are believed to have either been smuggled out or purchased. Some of them had the stamps of authorised manufacturers. The detonators are said to have been procured from the mining industry.

Police believe that Prakash is a conduit for purchase of arms and the Rs 2.50 lakh seized from the Nepal Maoists might have been raised to get the weapons.

The suspected attempt by the Nepal Maoists to procure ammunition casts a cloud on the motive behind the Maoist call for a ceasefire in the Himalayan Kingdom. “If they are observing a month-long ceasefire in Nepal, why are they making efforts to get so much ammunition'” asked a senior police officer. Police sources guessed that the Nepal Maoists were trying to regroup and arm themselves for a bigger strike.

The Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) allegedly collects Rs 42 crore to run its network here, including Rs 10 crore from Gaya alone, sources said. Police suspect the MCC gets the sum from contractors and traders. “There may be an MCC hand in some bank dacoities in the border districts of Bihar, too, said one officer. It is still not known if part of their money goes to fund insurgency in Nepal.

The STF officers in Patna are trying to establish the links of the Nepal Maoists with the ultra-Left networks in India. “We are still interrogating the key persons here,” STF superintendent said V.K. Singh.

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