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PLFI’s No. 2 held with AK-47

Ranchi, Aug. 4: In one of the biggest victories security forces have had on the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) in recent times, the banned outfit’s second-in-command was arrested from the outskirts of capital Ranchi in the wee hours today.

Jetha Kachchap (30) was wanted in over 60 cases, ranging from extortion and loot to murder, and carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head. He was nabbed, along with younger brother Paulus Kachchap (26), from his hideout in Chautanga village in Tupudana police station area around 3am.

The breakthrough followed a tip-off backed by Intelligence input. “He is a prize catch and a big boost to our concerted endeavours to weed out the PLFI,” said Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar.

Police found an AK-47, two live cartridges of the assault rifle, a countrymade pistol, ammunition, SIM cards, Rs 50,000 in cash and spare clothes on Jetha. But, while the recoveries may seem mediocre, they are upbeat on their trophy capture.

“We had been tracking this notorious criminal for 15 days. A week ago, he suffered bullet injuries in an encounter. We knew his movements would be restricted. Finally, we rounded him up from a hideout where he was getting himself treated,” said Tupudana OC Manoj Kumar.

Jetha Kachchap, who had joined the PLFI five years ago, had hogged headlines after the murder of Rajendra Kumar Dhan, the brother of former Congress legislator Deo Kumar Dhan, on Ranchi’s fringes in 2012.

“He had been involved in many subversive activities before the infamous murder, but after his role in the killing he had a meteoric rise in the outfit. He unleashed a reign of terror by collecting levy and executing murders,” said a senior police officer.

A breakaway faction of the CPI(Maoist), Dinesh Gope’s PLFI gained foothold in Jharkhand quite late in the last decade. Over the next few years, the outfit wreaked havoc in rural pockets of Ranchi as well as the adjoining districts of Gumla, Khunti and Lohardaga. Of late, it has even spread its tentacles to Seraikela-Kharsawan, a district near Jamshedpur.

The PLFI has given security forces more headaches than its parent outfit because of organised crimes sans ideology in the past couple of years. Chief Gope is still at large. But, bullish over today’s breakthrough, Ranchi police claimed that the heat was on.

“The operations in Khunti and other areas have cornered the outfit. So far, we have arrested over 55-60 members and sympathisers. Jetha is the outfit’s No. 2 man after its chief Dinesh Gope who is active in Ranchi, Khunti, Lohardaga, Gumla, Arki and Tupudana. Gope is running for cover here and there because of the operations. He will soon be out of steam,” a senior officer added.

Rural SP S.K. Jha said places like Bero, Lapung, Jagannathpur and Nagri, where Jetha ruled, would be peaceful now on. DGP Rajeev Kumar is likely to hold a news conference tomorrow.