₹600 crore. That is what the Naxals extort from Jharkhand coal mines every year

Dainik Bhaskar's special investigative report from the heart of Asia's biggest collieries reveals how the outlaws get money to buy arms.

Ranchi: Even as the Union home minister Rajnath Singh arrived here on a day-long visit of Jharkhand on Friday, Dainik Bhaskar launched an investigation into how the Naxalites lay their hands on the money needed to buy weapons.

During his visit, Rajnath will hold a review meeting with chief minister Raghubar Das. DGP of CRPF, Jharkhand DGP and SPs and DCs of four selected districts. After the meeting, he will travel to Palamu. There he will talk to the SPs and DCs of five districts including Ranchi, Chatra, Hazaribagh, Garhwa and Latehar.

A Bhaskar probe revealed that in these five districts, Naxalites collect ₹1.64 crore per day by stopping trucks carrying coal. All this goes on under the nose of the police. The Naxals are collecting money from the truckers in the entire Magadh and Amrapali coal project area, spread over 13,000 acres.

In the name of securing their rights to the displaced persons of Kunda and Masilong mines, the Tritya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a splinter group of CPI (Maoist), has formed Peace Co-Operation Committee for Magadh Project in Tandva (Masilong). A similar committee is also operative in the Amrapali project. The Naxalite network works like a well-oiled machine. Known Naxalites including Akramanji alias Ravindra, Kamlesh Ganjhu and Amar Singh Bhokta are operating the racket. The TPC recovers money from the transport companies. In the year 2017-18, TPC Naxalites recovered ₹599 crores from trucks that carried 81.8 lakh tonnes coal. A CID report has also confirmed the extortion.

Dainik Bhaskar Reporter Amit Singh spent six days in the coal projects posing as a truck staffer to discover how the levy is collected.

The arithmetic of recovery

  • ₹3,130 per truck extorted at six different locations.
  • Permit holder company gives ₹254 per tonne coal to the committee.
  • Each truck carries approximately 20 tonnes of coal. This translates into ₹5,080 per truck.
  • Thus a total of ₹8,210 per truck is recovered.
  • Around 2,000 trucks ply the route, totaling ₹1.64 crore of levy every day.
  • The collection totals ₹599 crores in a year.

 It is no longer done openly: K Mallick, ADG, anti-Naxal operations

Q. In the Magadha-Amrapali project, TPC Naxalites are extorting crores of rupees every month, what action has the police taken?
A. We have launched an operation against TPC Naxalites in Chatra. More than 50 people have been jailed. As many as 56 bank accounts linked to Naxalites and their relatives are being investigated. Property of several Naxalites has also been seized.

Q. When will the extortion stop?
A. The situation has changed. Now, the extortion is not done openly. Many Naxals, who were active in the racket earlier, have absconded. Over the next few months illegal recovery will also stop.

Q. A part of the levy reaches the police, the politicians, and others. How will the recovery stop in this scenario?
A. The police are taking action against those who are involved in the extortion. Action has already been taken against those who have been identified.

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