At the time when most corporate houses in India are unwilling to hire because of a financial downturn, a gangster in northern Bihar is paying monthly salaries to his henchmen.
The members of the infamous Santosh Jha gang that thrives in Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran and Saran districts, draw their salaries from various nationalised banks through ATMs every month. The payscale is well drafted and the gangster employees get their wages according to their acumen, capacity and utility.
The startling revelations were made by Chiranjiv Sagar and Vikas Jha, the two sharp-shooters of the gang, which has virtually let loose a reign of terror in the Tirhut and Champaran region. A Sitamarhi police team from Bhithamor on the India-Nepal border arrested the two associates of Santosh Jha, the gang leader, on Monday.
During interrogation, the two gangsters revealed that the members of the gang were paid monthly salaries ranging between Rs 9,000 and Rs 15,000 depending on their utility. In addition, they were paid transportation and mobile phone allowances.
Police records showed that 27 cases of murder and extortion were pending against Sagar, while 12 cases were lodged against Vikas.
The two sharp shooters told the police that seven members were at present on the payroll, while the services of scores of others were roped in at the time of exigency. The police have stumbled upon documents showing 25 bank accounts of the members of the gang. Around a dozen ATM cards belonging to the gang members have been seized.
Stunned over the gang’s corporate culture, a police officer said: “Hiring a petty criminal for contract killing is not new for the Bihar police. But employing someone on salary to commit crime is a new thing for the police.”
The interrogators were surprised to know that the gang used to collect extortion money not only from private contractors but also from government engineers, who were posted in the region. At least six engineers had to pay with their lives in the past few years for not obeying to their diktats, they revealed.
The gang is equipped with advanced weapons like AK-47. However, carbines and 9mm pistols were mostly used by the members in executing the plan, chalked out by the ganglord.
Kingpin Santosh was earlier associated with Maoists. He settled in Nepal after the murder of Gaurishankar Jha, a self-styled zonal commander of Maoists, at Dostian village under the jurisdiction of Shyampur Batahan police station in Sheohar in November 2011, a police officer quoted the two arrested persons as saying.
“Santosh is at present operating from Nepal. Since we have no treaty with them for deportation of any accused, we have to approach the Interpol for the purpose. This is a time-consuming process,” the police officer said.
Most members of
Santosh Jha gang have accounts with nationalised banks, including State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank
Salary is credited to their accounts online through Internet
Money collected as extortion from contractors, businessmen and other private firms, are deposited in bank accounts of Santosh, a native of Dostian village in Sheohar
To avoid police action, they would contact their targets on mobile phones through Internet