Monday, November 16, 2009
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Patna, Nov. 15: The rich haul of arms and explosives from Gaya, Patna and Bokaro recently has revealed that territories under Maoist control have emerged as a huge market for international arms smugglers.
Patna police, led by senior superintendent Vineet Vinayak, arrested one Subodh Singh and his wife on Friday night from an upscale locality here in connection with the recovery of six bags of explosives, foreign-made pistols and rifles besides Naxalite literature.
The arms, Vinayak told reporters yesterday, could have been used by Naxalites in neighbouring Jharkhand, where the Assembly elections would be held from November 25 in five phases.
On the basis of Subodh’s interrogation, the police also seized six vehicles belonging to a travel agency owned by one Prabhat Singh. From one car, 250 cartridges made in China and Pakistan were recovered. The seized vehicles were used for transporting the arms and ammunition to the Naxalites in several areas in Jharkhand and Bihar, the police have learnt.
Officers interrogating Subodh and other suspects said the rebels had many contacts masquerading as white-collar traders and professionals in Patna, Gaya and several towns in Jharkhand serving as conduit in supply of arms from smugglers to guerrilla cadres.
Central intelligence agencies, too, have indicated to their state counterparts that the Maoists were increasing their arsenal thanks to supply of arms from international smugglers. These officials believe that “illegal” arms from China were being supplied to rebel groups through the Indo-China borders in the Northeast and also through over 750km porous Indo-Nepal border in Bihar.
The “white-collar traders”, who own the vehicles and run travel agencies, according to investigating officers, have been ferrying the arms from the borders to the hinterlands where the Maoists are at war with the state. The seizure of arms in Patna, Gaya and Bokaro has yielded several peeled coconut size Chinese hand-grenades which are favourites with the guerrillas.
A senior special task force (STF) officer said that Chinese hand-grenades covered in polythene bags were also made available to the rebels in huge quantity. Besides, the Maoists were in possession of hundreds of pistols made in China and even in Pakistan.
Recently, the STF arrested two suspected Maoists from Khagaria in north Bihar on a tip-off and recovered two Pakistan-made semi-automatic pistols and two magazines from their possession.
On the other hand, Nepal police have formally complained to the Bihar police that criminals in the Himalayan nation were in possession of arms made in Munger