A group of armed Maoists hurled bombs and set on fire a fuel station of BJP MLA Ram Surat Rai near Patiasa village in Muzaffarpur in small hours of Friday.
The rebels also attacked the legislator’s ancestral house at Garha village and fired indiscriminately. The MLA representing the Aurai Assembly constituency in Muzaffarpur was away. But his wife and children at home had a close shave.
Police said 20 Maoists descended on Shiv Krishna Fuel of the MLA on the NH-57 around 1.30am and took the employees hostage at gunpoint. They hurled at least three bombs, damaging four nozzles. An empty oil tanker parked outside the fuel outlet, around 95km north of Patna, was also set on fire.
The employees of the pump told the police that the Maoists assaulted them with revolver butts before fleeing. They also shouted slogans against Rai, the owner of the fuel outlet. They threatened the employees with dire consequences for the legislator’s failure to pay levy (extortion money) to the outfit.
The operation continued for about an hour. The employees claimed that the Maoists took away Rs 5,000 from the cash counter.
A kilometre away, another group of the rebels attacked Rai’s ancestral home at Garha village. They hurled five bombs and opened fire to intimidate the people inside.
The MLA, who was away in Delhi for some work, got information about the incident on his cellphone. Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Saurav Kumar, along with additional SP (operations) Rana Brajesh and deputy superintendent of police (town) Anil Kumar Singh, rushed to the spot after learning about the dastardly act of the rebels. The Maoists had fled by the time the officers reached the spot, around 15km from the district headquarters.
The Muzaffarpur SSP said three live bombs were recovered from the pump. “Patrolling has been intensified and a special drive has been launched to apprehend the attackers, who might have escaped to adjoining Sheohar district. One suspect has been detained for interrogation,” he told The Telegraph.
Additional SP (operations) Rana said raids were conducted on suspected hideouts of the Maoists in Minapur, Gaighat and Katra police stations, which were considered to be hot bed of the banned outfit.
The MLA claimed that assets worth Rs 30 lakh were damaged in the incident. “An FIR has been lodged with the Bochahan police station,” he said.
The MLA was earlier threatened with dire consequences for not paying extortion money. Though the legislator had informed the police and sought protection for himself and his family members, the police turned a blind eye.
“Such an attack has been made for the second time on the petrol pump of the legislator within a fortnight,” said Nawal Kishore Rai, a neighbour of the MLA.
Mining site raid
More than 150 Maoists raided a mining site at Navinagar village near the Kiul river on Thursday night and took seven labourers hostage.
The rebels also torched two earthmover machines. The labourers were working for a Patna-based private company involved in mining sand.