Ranchi, July 20: Police claimed to have made a dramatic recovery today from a Naxalite stronghold near Jhumra Pahar (Bokaro) of a huge amount in cash. The total amount recovered stood at over Rs 14 lakh.
The police claimed the boxes containing the cash had been brought down to Gomoh for counting. According to unconfirmed reports, cashiers from the Bank of India were mobilised to do the counting.
The police also stumbled on explosives, an assault rifle, 155 rounds of ammunition and the revolver of a police officer killed by the MCC a year ago. The recovery — under Operation Hilltop III — in a bunker in an artificial cave about 2.5 km from Aman village came days before the MCC-sponsored two-day bandh to protest against the court’s judgment on the Beltu massacre.
Sources said that after a tip-off that extremist movement had again been observed at and near Jhumra Pahar, Bokaro SP Anil Palta started the operation at 9 this morning. There was information that some people had been seen carrying big boxes near Aman village three days ago.
Preliminary reports said that as the police neared the village, they noticed the cave and, on entering, found a 5x5 feet bunker where seven boxes were hidden. A senior police officer said the cave belonged to Sohan Ganju alias Sohan Da, the zonal commander of the MCC.
The cash recovery has once again exposed the vast funding network of the MCC. According to estimates, the rebel group is collecting money running into billions.
“The extremist groups are running a parallel government in the state. They are openly collecting levy forcibly from contractors, doctors and businessmen. Of late, they have also started targeting middle-class people like teachers,” said sources.
“The government has failed to make a dent in remote areas in the state and therefore people have no option but to fulfil extremists’ demands. Any resistance may cost their lives. The government has not been able to protect the common man,” the sources added.
They said there are indications that the huge amount of money generated from ‘levy’ is deposited in Patna and Calcutta. Many MCC bigwigs are based in neighbouring states.
A senior police official said the biggest challenge before the government is to cut off the extremists’ source of money. “They have got a big network of people which cannot run without strong monetary support,” he added.