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Rebel gun runners held from heart of steel city

Jamshedpur, July 6: Police today busted a gang of gun runners with Maoists links from the heart of the city after they caught three persons in the midst of conducting a deal on Marine Drive and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition.

After interrogating the three, who were nabbed on the basis of a tip-off, the police conducted a raid at Bhilaipahad, about 20km from here on NH-33, and arrested six others hours before the beginning a 48-hour rebel bandh that has been called across Jharkhand the several neighbouring states. Among the seizures were 13 7.65MM pistols, one country-made pistol, 443 live cartridges of various bores, three motorcycles, nine mobile phones and Rs 2.3 lakh in cash.

SSP Naveen Kumar Singh said among the nine arrested, the three held on Marine Drive under Bistupur police station had Maoist links, while the others were middlemen and arms-dealers who got their consignment from Munger in Bihar.

He said the men had confessed that this was their second arms consignment for Maoists with links to the Madan Mahto squad operating in the Belpahadi area of West Midnapore district in Bengal. “Acting on a tip-off that arms suppliers would come by train to Tatanagar station and then head for Marine Drive, we set up a team and nabbed the three along with the arms, ammunition and cash,” Singh said.

“Later, on being interrogated, the three led us to Bhilaipahad, about 20 km away, from where we arrested the remaining six,” he added.

Those picked up from Marine Drive were Pradeep Kumar Pandey, Baidhnath Mardi and Rohit Karmakar, all of whom were wanted in connection with Naxal related cases in Jharkhand. Those arrested from Bhilaipahad were Kunal Rajak, Premlal, Gangadhar Ojha, Lalbabu Singh, Manik Chandra Besra and Sidhu Mahto.

Singh said Maoists were now using smaller weapons instead of AK- 47 and Insas rifles. “The rebels are using smaller arms and use motorcycles to attack enemies. In all recent killings, they have used the 7.65MM pistols.”

He revealed that Pradeep and Rohit were residents of Dalbhumgarh in East Singhbhum while Baidhnath was a resident of Belpahadi in Bengal.

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