New Delhi: The 10 suspected Naxalites arrested last week by the Uttar Pradesh anti-terror squad have denied planning terror attacks in the national capital region, saying they just wanted to “threaten people to extort money”, said a senior police officer close to the investigation.
But, IG of the anti-terror squad (ATS) Asim Arun is not buying it. “We are not going to believe what they have said. A couple of arrests will happen soon. Our investigation is not yet complete,” he said.
The ATS has recovered six pistols, more than 400 cartridges, 45 gelatin rods, 125 detonators, one INSAS rifle, two rifles (315 bore), six magazines, 13 mobile phones and two laptops from those arrested so far. The arrests and recoveries have been made from Noida and Chandauli in Varanasi.
Asim Arun said a local informed the police about the suspicious movements of the men. It was their frequent movement between Noida and Bihar that raised an alarm.
One of the main accused in the case is Pawan Jha (25), a resident of Madhubani in Bihar. Jha shifted to Noida around four years ago and entered the business of property dealing with four of his friends. During one of the land deals in Greater Noida, he got into an argument with one Ramniwas Gurjar. In the process, he lost Rs 5 crore. In order to get the money back, he started contacting Naxalites from the same belt and also contacted people with a criminal background, police said.
Another accused Ranjit Paswan from Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh joined Jha after being released from jail. At the age of 13, Paswan reportedly met Ramapati, a Naxalite. Influenced by Ramapati, he joined the Peoples War Group and became the area commander of Kaimoor in Uttar Pradesh. Police later arrested him and he was jailed for nine years.
While Jha took the responsibility of getting AK-47s and bombs, Paswan accompanied him and promised to get more people. They decided to loot an ATM and extort money from rich businessmen, police said.
In the meantime, they were also joined by accused Krishna Kumar Rama from Rohtash, Bihar. After failing graduation, he started working as a driver. He started ferrying the Naxalites affiliated with the Peoples War Group. As his contact base increased, he started doing small work for the PWG, including delivering threat letters. With time, he gained the trust of PWG and became an active member. He underwent training to make bombs and weapons in the forests of Kaimoor. He was arrested by Bihar Police and sent to Sasaram jail.
Jha, who needed more people with criminal background, and Rama got along well. Jha gave him the responsibility of assembling modern weapons and the material to make bombs.
Another Naxalite, Sunil Ravidas, also got in touch with Jha when he got to know that Jha was looking for people. Ravidas, after an argument at his home, ran away at the age of 13 and started working at a dhaba in Sasaram, Bihar. There he met Kamlesh Chaudhary, the then area commander of PWG, and joined his gang. He was arrested in 2011 along with zonal commander Ajay Rajbhar, Naval Kharwar, and Anil Mehta in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh. After leaving jail, he along with Ajay participated in TSPC and became active in areas like Kaimoor and Sasaram. He had a reward of Rs 10,000 on him. Krishna called him to Noida to work with Jha.
Other accused are Sunil Yada, Brij Kishore Tomar, Shailender Kumar, Ashish Saraswat, Sachin Kumar and Suraj
The six were staying on rent in Noida's Hindon Vihar. Their landlord, Veenu, was oblivious to their activities. Veenu claimed the tenant verification process was done, but police will investigate and cross-check his claims.