A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court in Jharkhand’s Ranchi on May 22 sent Dinesh Gope, self-styled supremo of the outlawed Naxal outfit, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), to eight days custody.
Dinesh Gope alias Kuldeep Yadav alias Badku was produced before the NIA court today, a day after he was arrested by the anti-terror agency from the national capital. Gope, a resident of Khunti district in Jharkhand, was earlier chargesheeted by the NIA in the case relating to the recovery of demonetised currency of Rs 25.38 lakh from the operatives of PLFI.
He was absconding in the case which is among one of the two cases being investigated by the NIA’s Ranchi branch against the PLFI.
According to NIA investigations, more than 102 criminal cases are registered against Gope in Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha, and most of these cases relate to murders, abductions, threats, extortion, and raising funds for the PLFI, a Maoist outfit formed in 2007 in Jharkhand and also a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).
The NIA had also declared a reward of Rs 5 lakh for leads on Gope, in addition to the reward of Rs 25 lakh announced by the Jharkhand Government. “Gope had been absconding for almost two decades,” said the NIA.
On February 3 last year, the NIA said, an encounter had taken place between a Gope-led PLFI squad and security personnel in the forest area under Gudri Police Station of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
“Several rounds were fired in the encounter before the rebels sneaked into the forest and Gope managed to escape. He had been absconding since then, and had been taking shelter at different places while making all efforts to re-establish the PLFI’s stronghold in Jharkhand,” said the anti-terror agency.
The NIA said that Dinesh Gope used to extort money and execute attacks through his PLFI team members to terrorise businessmen, contractors and the public at large.
“Gope along with his associates was involved in depositing the demonetised currency in a bank account at a petrol pump to be later collected through levy and extortion. The illegal money was then invested through banking channels and dubious shell companies in the name of close associates and family members of the accused Gope,” reveals the NIA, citing its investigations.
The case was initially registered on November 10, 2016, at Bero Police Station in Ranchi, and re-registered by the NIA on January 19, 2018. The police had filed the first chargesheet against four persons on January 9, 2017.
The NIA filed the first Supplementary Chargesheet in the case against 11 accused, including Gope. Subsequently, the NIA filed the second supplementary chargesheet in the case on July 23 last year against five individuals and three private limited companies.
The NIA had also attached 14 bank accounts and two cars alongwith cash and immovable property worth more than a crore in the case. Known previously as Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), PLFI is responsible for hundreds of terror incidents in Jharkhand, including several murders using firearms, as per the NIA investigations. “The outfit used to lure unemployed youth by providing them motorbikes, mobile phones and easy money and after imparting training, used to equip them with lethal weapons to carry out terror incidents.”
“Extortion is PLFI’s major source of income and the outfit has been targeting coal traders, railway contractors and various private entities involved in developmental projects in various districts of Jharkhand. The naxal outfit had also formed alliances with different criminal gangs in order to spread their nefarious activities, and executed several incidents of murders and arson in Jharkhand,” said the NIA.
As per the central probe agency, Gope was part of a criminal conspiracy to channelise the extorted funds collected from the contractors and businessmen engaged in the developmental projects in Jharkhand.
“Gope was involved in investing these funds in dubious shell companies like Palak Enterprises, Shiv Adi Shakti, Shiv Shakti Samridhi Infra Pvt Ltd and Bhavya Engicon, formed in partnership with other PLFI associates and his family members. The extorted money was also being transferred from Jharkhand to other places through a network of hawala operators.”
In July 2007, Masi Charan Purty, a renegade of the CPI-Maoist, along with several of his followers, had joined Gope in order to raise PLFI as a Naxal outfit, said the NIA.
Though Masi Charan Purty was subsequently arrested, the federal agency said the PLFI spread its activities under Gope’s command. He used to collect huge amounts of extortion money, which was further used to procure sophisticated weapons, including AK 47s and foreign-made Rifles, such as HK 33, said NIA.
(with inputs from ANI)