Two close aides of Sharfuddin, the JD(U) legislator from Sheohar, were arrested on Wednesday with some top CPI(Maoist) leaders during an anti-Naxalite operation.
Acing on a tip-off, a police team carried out raids at different hideouts of the rebels under the jurisdiction of Sheohar, Purnahia and Piprahi police stations and apprehended six persons, including the MLA’s associates — Md Seraz and Ejajul Rehman.
Seraz, a resident of Gadhwa village, is the driver of the MLA. Rehman of Darihatha village in Sheohar district was his election manager in the last Assembly polls. Seraz made an attempt to attack sub-inspector (SI) Azad Singh with a knife when the latter tried to arrest him.
Sheohar superintendent of police (SP) Himanshu Shanker Trivedi said Singh, an SI of the Special Task Force, survived the knife attack because of timely intervention of a policeman. “Seraz attacked him with a knife, bruising his neck. But a cop intervened and he was saved,” he told The Telegraph.
Trivedi said Rehman had criminal antecedents and was associated with a ruling party leader. “A red corner warrant of arrest was pending against him in a case,” he said.
The SP did not rule out the possibility of questioning the MLA after the arrest of his two associates. “The police might interrogate the MLA if any evidence about his links with the Maoists or criminals is found,” he said.
Sharfuddin admitted that Seraz worked as his driver and Rehman was his election manager during the last Assembly election in 2010. “But I removed Seraz about eight months ago and he is no longer associated with me,” he told The Telegraph.
The ruling party MLA said Rehman was arrested on the charge of providing shelter to Jai Mangal Ram, one of the two area commanders of the CPI(Maoist) arrested during the operation. “As far as I know, Rehman has no criminal record,” he said, adding that he had been implicated out of political vendetta.
The other arrested area commander of the CPI(Maoist) has been identified as Kailash Thakur. Both were wanted in at least 24 cases of extortion and other Naxalite activities. The police seized a country-made 9mm pistol, live cartridges and several cellphones during the operation.
The SP said diaries containing details of levy collected from the contractors and businessmen had been seized from the possession of the arrested persons.
Letters heads used for demanding extortion money from the targets were also seized, he added.