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Bengal Maoist leader in net

Jamshedpur, June 15: A CPI(Maoist) leader posted in Hooghly, Bengal, has been apprehended in Galudih, near Ghatshila, 35km from the steel city.

A pistol and Rs 4 lakh in cash have been found on the rebel identified as Hooghly sub-zonal committee member and North 24-Parganas resident Pradeep, alias Rahul Das. An aide, Raju Mahto, who was helping the Maoist collect levy, has also been arrested.

Though East Singhbhum police said the arrests were made this morning, unconfirmed reports claimed that Pradeep and his two — not one — associates were nabbed from Athchali village in Galudih on Wednesday evening following an encounter with a patrolling party, where 10 rounds were fired.

SSP Akhilesh Kumar Jha said the rebel was a key functionary of the CPI(Maoist) in the neighbouring state and was in Jharkhand to collect levy from a contractor, whose identity he refused to divulge. “We received an intelligence tip-off and raided a lodge to arrest Pradeep and his associate, who is a local resident,” Jha said.

He added that they were trying to find out whether the duo had terrorised other contractors in Galudih and Ghatshila, both close to the Bengal border.

Significantly, the work of a canal is underway in these two places for a year as a part of the multi-crore Subernarekha Multipurpose Project (SMP). Progress of the project had been tardy for want of adequate funds till the Centre sanctioned a special pool. And it goes without saying that Maoists are eyeing this funds pie.

A high-level police team — headed by additional SP Rajiv Ranjan — has been sent to Calcutta to gather background information on those arrested.


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