Nagpur: An inquiry into the foul-play by Gadchiroli cops in the aftermath of encounter on April 22-23 has revealed that the security forces have gulped down huge amount of cash running into crores. The encounter had claimed the lives of 40 Maoists, the highest by any agency in the country. Sources say the money belonged to the Aheri operational command and amounted to at least Rs 6 crore. This was revealed by a 40-member fact-finding committee.
The committee says that the C-60 commandos of Gadchiroli forced Moaists’ divisional committee member (DVCM) Vasudev Atram alias Nandu, Perimili Dalam member Kartick Uikey and their four women aides to accompany them from Boriya-Kasnasur forest and point out the money ‘dumps’. After the security forces dug out the money, the six were shot dead near Nainer, its members said.
Villagers of Nainer and eight other villages in the vicinity had then told that they had heard only a few gunshots which did not suggest an encounter having taking place. They had also said that the commandos had come with Nandu and the others.
The committee members had discovered two steel containers in the forest adjoining Nainer village. “We had dug out the empty containers from the ground after the place was shown to us by Nainer villagers. Nandu and others are likely to have shown more such dumps before they reached this spot. In all probability, they were killed after the last dump. Villagers told us that the commandos had emptied the containers and buried them back,” said V Raghunath, a Hyderabad high court lawyer who was part of the committee.
The Maoists place cash in steel containers and bury them in the ground at designated spots which are known only to the seniormost cadres. They are called ‘dumps’. The steel containers are made water proof with layers of plastic. Each dump may contain several lakhs of rupees collected from the tendu leaf contractors, construction companies, politicians and also commoners.
The empty containers were brought to Gadchiroli SP Abhinav Deshmukh’s notice by the committee. “He has assured us that it would be investigated but we have our doubts,” said Raghunath.
Deshmukh emphatically denied that the committee had mentioned the dumps and the missing cash to him. “We got about 35 detonators and other materials from the encounter site,” he said.