Friday, July 17, 2009

Gadget supplier to be grilled in Ranchi

Ranchi, July 16: New Delhi businessman Praveen Sharma, nabbed by Delhi police for supplying latest communication gadgets to Naxalites in Jharkhand, is expected to reach Ranchi tomorrow and face tough interrogation.

Senior superintendent of police Praveen Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that they had received a transit remand from New Delhi’s Tees Hazari court to bring Sharma to Ranchi.

He hoped that Sharma’s interrogation would reveal the level of technological expertise of Naxalites in the state and in return would help the police prepare counter-defensive or offensive measures.

“We will try to find out the exact number of consignments that reached Jharkhand and its neighbouring states from Delhi in the recent past. We will also try to get word on the supplier’s plan for the future,” said Singh. The supplier will be grilled for the next three days.

Sharma was nabbed by New Delhi police on July 14 after Ranchi police tipped off their Delhi counterpart about a consignment of communication gadgets such as walkie-talkie sets, cellphones, transistors and compact antennae reaching Ranchi via an Indian Airlines flight.

The consignment was supposed to reach one Naresh Sharma, an employee of Shekhar Construction, supposed to execute road and irrigation projects worth Rs 50 crore and more in Palamau. Sharma, in turn, was to deliver the goods to Naxalites as “payment” for the rebels. In exchange, the Naxalites were allowing the firm to work in the area.

Praveen Sharma owns a shop in Palika Bazaar of New Delhi. Ranchi police believe that the businessman’s interrogation would spring surprises. Moreover, police would also look into the manner in which arms consignments were being allowed to cross highly strict airport checks.

On July 15, Naresh Sharma reportedly confessed that his firm paid over Rs 50 lakh to Naxalite leader, Sandeepji, whose men torched construction equipment and kidnapped company staff during the initial phase of the project.

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