| The Sunday’s arms haul. Telegraph picture |
Police on Monday recovered another rifle and as much as half a kg of gold biscuits during their search operations in Lodipur diara.
On Sunday, the men in uniform had nabbed nine criminals, including one Shankar Dayal alias Fauji, an army deserter and the leader of the a well-organised gang operating in the diara areas of the state.
The arrests came after a fierce encounter between the criminals and the cops which started late on Saturday evening and continued till Sunday morning.
Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, who has been leading the operations, said the police would continue their raids in the area till the rule of criminals along the rivers comes to an end.
“The operation, which has been termed as Operation Diara, is set to continue. Another rifle, which seems to have been looted from the police, was recovered late on Saturday night. Apart from this, the police have recovered around Rs 3.5 lakh in cash and around half a kg of gold in the shape of biscuits. The verification is being done. The police are getting leads from the arrested, especially from Fauji, and are carrying out raids in the diara areas and adjoining locations. We are hoping for more arrests and recoveries as some of the criminals had thrown their weapons into the river during the encounter on Sunday. We are trying to fish those out,” the officer told The Telegraph.
Diara refers to a land — which can be of a huge size, spanning acres — was once under the river. However, during monsoon, these areas get inundated and accessibility to these areas becomes tough, mostly by boats. With rivers like the Ganga and the Sone among others spanning far and wide, the diara areas too can stretch across many districts, where the soil is considered to be very fertile.
The officer said Fauji had very strong connections with the Naxalites as well as other gangs. Earlier on Sunday, Fauji had said he had given an AK-47 assault rifle to Rama Singh, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Vaishali on an LJP ticket.
“The police would verify his statements for sure. There are some major gangs operating in the diara areas and they are always interconnected. This is one among the biggest gangs ever busted. The gang and Fauji have links with the Maoists. Fauji hails from Kaimur, which is a hotbed of Naxalism and he has also been supplying arms to them. The police are trying to know about the source from which he got these sophisticated weapons. They are also into levy and extortion business. The man used to pay salary to the gang members for their work. One of the arrested men has said he joined the gang during Holi this year at a fixed payscale of Rs 36,000 per month. The diara areas of the whole Shahbad zone is under their control and they seem to have supplied arms to many,” SSP Maharaaj added.
Fauji has also claimed links with Reet Lal Yadav, a dreaded criminal presently lodged in Beur Central Jail. Yadav was recently made the general secretary of the RJD’s Bihar unit by party chief Lalu Prasad. Yadav is known to be the don of the diara areas of Danapur and was considering toying with the idea of contesting elections as an Independent from the Pataliputra constituency.
Police on Monday busted a gang of robbers involved in a series of dacoity incidents, including one at Lekha Nagar (Danapur) on February 26.