The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trail points to mercenaries

Ranchi, March 6: CPI(Maoist) has shared a cosy relationship with the JMM, even helping many JMM candidates in elections, asserted the police who doubt the involvement of Maoists in killing Sunil Mahto on Sunday.

The underground outfit had come out strongly in favour of Shibu Soren when the latter was convicted for the murder of his private secretary. The Maoists had even threatened to launch a state-wide agitation against the conspiracy of “feudal elements”.

It is unlikely, therefore, the party leadership would have given the clearance to kill the MP, they believe. “They stood to gain little or nothing,” said director-general of police J. Mahapatra, “but lose a lot”. By attacking the JMM, they ran the risk of alienating the strong regional party with a network on the ground, he added. The DGP also said posters and leaflets claiming responsibility and explaining the reasons marked every Maoist attack in the past.

On Sunday, they did nothing of the sort. Posters, which appeared on Tuesday, he felt, could have been an after-thought to throw investigators off balance.

Investigators are also wondering why the assailants chose to kill JMM block president Prabhakar Mahto, who was seated next to the MP. The latter had been instrumental in inviting the MP. It is possible that the MP’s political rivals made use of both Prabhakar Mahto and the extremists. And once the mission was accomplished, they did away with the minor functionary lest he spills the beans.

They do not rule out the involvement of lumpen elements who have infiltrated the Maoist ranks. “They are known to be mercenaries and would do anything for money,” they declared.

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