In the past four days there were two very important developments where the fight against Naxalites was concerned.

The first was the arrest of Lalita Devi, the wife of Chhotu Kerwar, a regional commander of the CPI (Maoist) from the Balumath area in Jharkhand. The second was the filing of a chargesheet against 11 persons part of the proscribed Peoples’ Liberation Front of India (PLFI).

The similarities in both these cases are that both relate to Naxal funding and how they were investing in mutual funds, banks, cooperative societies etc. All this ill-gotten wealth earned through extortion was going into the kitty of the Naxalites, who in turn were using it both for subversive activities as well as personal gains.

When demonetisation blew the lid:

One of the key benefits of the decision on demonetisation was that it hit both terror and Naxal funding to a large extent. Both terrorists and Naxalites have tried to recover from that decision, but with the agencies on the top of their game, be it in Kashmir or the Naxal affected areas, they have found the going tough.

The probe into the PLFI case in which 11 accused were chargesheeted states that these persons were raising funds through extortion/levy collection and further legitimising this illegal money by investing in banking channels and dubious shell companies in the names of the close associates of Dinesh Gope, the supreme commander of the PLFI.

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The matter first came to light when the police recovered demonetised currency to the tune of Rs 25.38 lakh. It was found that these persons were depositing the money into the bank account of a petrol bunk owned by one of the accused persons.

The NIA then took over the case and registered an FIR on January 19, 2018. The probe by the NIA found that the accused persons were extorting a levy amount from the contractors and others involved in the development of Jharkhand.

This money in turn was being deposited into dubious shell companies such M/S Palak Enterprises, M/S Shiv Adi Shakti, M/S Shiv Shakti Samridhi Infra Pvt. Ltd., M/S Bhavya Engicon, formed with the partnership of PLFI associates and family members of Dinesh Gope.

The money was also being mobilised from Jharkhand to other places through a network of hawala operators. Further the NIA learnt that the banking channels were being used to legitimise the illegal money. The NIA also found that a whopping Rs 2.5 crore was transacted through two bank accounts in the name of shell companies as well as in individual members.

The NIA also conducted searches at Jharkhand, West Bengal, New Delhi which led to the recovery of Rs 42.79 lakh in cash, laptops, mobile phones and documents relating to investment in properties. The NIA also seized movable and immovable properties worth Rs 70 lakh.

The probe conducted by the NIA in the Lalita Devi case led to the recovery of Rs 3 lakh in cash. Further the NIA also found that Rs 12 lakh had been deposited in the name of Lalita Devi. The seized amount was received by one Chandan Kumar, the manager of the Sahara Credit Cooperative Society.

The uproar and the urban Naxal case:

During the probe into the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, Pune Police stumbled upon some startling details. When Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister in 2014, the primary objective of the government was to curb the illegal flow of money into the NGOs.

The agencies targeted the fake NGOs, which were set up specifically to receive money and then route it to the missionaries and Naxalites.

The probe by Pune Police led to the arrest of several ‘activists.’ This created a huge uproar, with them accusing the Modi government of misusing the law. While the Pune police unearthed a larger conspiracy in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, several other agencies maintained that the main cause behind the uproar was the squeezing of funds.

One of the main reasons for the Modi government to crack down on the NGOs was because many were using the money to fund the Naxal movement, separatists in Kashmir and terrorists.

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The investigations that were launched in 2014 revealed that 23,172 NGOs had received foreign funding to the tune of Rs 10,997.35 crore in the years between 2008 and 2009. In 2009 and 2010 around 22,275 NGOs had received funds to the tune of Rs 10,431.12 crore. In 2011, 22,735 NGOs had received funds of Rs 10,334.12 crore.

It was found that under the Foreign Funding Contribution Regulation (Act), only 38,436 NGOs were registered. Out of this 22,508 NGOs had received funds to the tune of over Rs 10,000 crore.

Breaking the nation:

Urban Naxals and their friends in the jungle pose an immense security threat to the nation. The job of the urban Naxals has always been to ensure that the fund flow into the jungles is smooth. Further they will always interfere with the government to ensure that the Naxalites are safe. For this, they stage protests, create a narrative against the government.

Amar Bhushan, former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing tells MyNation both the Naxals and their friends in the city are the rank one enemies of the nation. When people speak about their cause, I find it laughable. Look at the probes being conducted by the NIA and other agencies. How much of their ill-gotten wealth is being used for their so-called cause? Like the separatists, they are routing a major portion of the money to fund their lifestyles, says Bhushan.

Today they are desperate as the government has squeezed them of their money. Further they are under immense pressure from the missionaries abroad who have funded them to keep India on the boil. Hence, they try to build various narratives including an anti-Hindu one. They want to make it seem as though Hinduism is only a religion of superstition. So, when you take into consideration all these factors, you can imagine how big the conspiracy is and why the government should never stop going after them.

An NIA official associated with the probe mentioned above says that chasing these Naxals is no easy job. They try to dish out sympathy in the cities by using students, the so-called activists. While the security forces are going for the kill, it is also important that we keep at them where their funding is concerned. In both the Naxal as well as the case relating to the Kashmir separatists, we managed to bring them under check only when we started going after their funds, the officer also noted.

Ideology? Really?

In February a top ranking Naxal, Oggu Satwaji alias Sudhakar surrendered along with his wife Neelima before Telangana Police. This was the second high-profile surrender, the earlier one being Jinugu Narasimha Reddy alias Jampanna.

Sudhakar told the police that he was disgruntled with the Naxal ideology. He said that today it is about the money, blackmail and extortion. What’s interesting is the similar reason cited by several other Naxals who have surrendered in recent times.

Back in 2014, nine Naxalites at Bijapur, Chhattisgarh surrendered. They told the police that the ideology was hollow. They also cited misunderstanding among the ranks for their surrender. They further added that there is a clash between the top leadership over the ideology as many are only focusing on extortion and setting aside the money to fund their lifestyles.

In 2018, thanks to the no-nonsense approach by our agencies, 62 Naxals surrendered before Chhattisgarh Police. These hardcore Naxals who were working under the Kutul area committee of the CPI (Maoists) surrendered along with their weapons.

On September 3, 2019, 8 Naxalites surrendered at Sukma. When questioned they cited the anti-development stand and fading ideology as the reasons for their surrender. The police said in the aftermath of the surrender that the Naxalites are under tremendous pressure due to the relentless and successful anti-Naxal and area domination operations.