Sunday, March 15, 2009

Criminals hiding in Maoist areas

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, March. 15: Areas dominated by Maoists and splinter Naxal groups in Bihar and Jharkhand have emerged as the preferred hiding-place for a notorious inter-state crime syndicate. The gang has been involved in eight robberies in West Bengal since 2006.
Two members of the gang, Bablu Ansari and Nasim Khan, disclosed the information to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The two men were arrested several months ago and interrogated at Bhawani Bhavan.

Based on the information provided by the duo, a CID team has been sent to a Maoist-dominated area in Gaya district to round up other members of the gang. According to a top CID source, the gang has around ten members.

A senior CID officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Statesman that robbers belonging to the syndicate frequently take shelter in Gaya and Dhanbad giving money to Maoist groups in the area.

Many of the hideouts are located in Barachati, Sherghat and Hilsa in Gaya and remote places in Dhanbad and Nalanda district, the officer said. One of the top members of the gang is a 40-year-old man and former student of the MBA.

The man, who is linked to Maoist and other Naxal groups, had until recently lived in Gaya. Police have launched a hunt for him. Other members of the syndicate are computer professionals.

“The gang has been involved in at least eight robberies in West Bengal since 2006, including attacks on banks in Purulia, Serampore, Sheoraphuli and Durgapur. They have taken in excess of Rs 5 crore. The gang's members have not been involved in criminal activities in their home states. Bihar and Jharkhand police do not raid their hideouts because they fear Maoist attacks,” the officer said.

He added that Maoists collect a levy from the gangsters in exchange for shelter. Most members of the gang, apart from Bablu and Nasim, belong to the Hindu community. Police said that the bank robbers chose to shelter in very remote places, making it difficult to conduct night-time raids.

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