The Bihar police’s initiative to cripple Maoist leaders financially by confiscating their property under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), has met with considerable success.
As per data accessed from the police headquarters in Patna, Maoist leaders’ immovable property including approximately 44 acres of land and movable property worth over Rs. 2 crore, have already been seized in course of the drive.
“By a very rough estimate, 44 acres should be worth over Rs. 4 crore going by the prevailing land rates. Counted with the immovables’ seizure figure, Maoists have already taken a hit in excess of Rs. 6 crore”, said an official.
He said drawing upon Bihar’s success, the centre had asked eight other Maoist-hit states to effect property seizures, under the UAPA provisions to weaken extremists’ leaders by way of their individual financial clout.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued directions to the chief secretaries and director generals of police (DGP) in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states to start implementing UAPA to come down on Maoists”, the official told HT.
The eight states in receipt of this MHA missive, apart from Bihar, are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
These states have been asked to gather information about movable and immovable assets of Maoist leaders and confiscate them as per the provisions of the UAPA if the financial clout is being used to fund such unlawful activities.
A joint secretary level officer at the MHA has been appointed the designated authority in this regard.
“We foundthat top naxal leaders in Bihar were amassing much wealth. We started using UAPA provisions to attach and confiscate it in May 2012. The implementation was speeded up this year,” said DGP Abhayanand.
So far, the Bihar Police have seized movable property worth over `2 crore including cash, ornaments and bank deposits belonging the Maoist leaders, in altogether 33 cases. In addition, immovable property, including about 44 acres of land has also been seized.
“Motorbikes, cars, special utility vehicles (SUV), tractors, cell phones, besides their land have been attached”, the DGP said. He recalled Chief minister Nitish Kumar had proposed this at a meeting of LWE affected states held under the chairmanship of the home minister a couple of months ago.
The biggest such seizure was done in Jehanabad district on June 2, 2012, when the wife of hardcore Maoist leader Arvindji, considered in-charge of military operations in Bihar, was caught carrying Rs. 27.5 lakh in cash.
Other Maoist leaders whose property has been seized include zonal commanders and area commanders like Kundal Mandal, Lachman Mishra, Budhram Paswan, Deo Kumar Yadav, Satya Narayan Prajapati, Lalan Ji, Bihari Ji, Sanjay Thakur, Prithviraj Hembram, Adhik Lal Pandit, Arjun Singh and Yamuna Mistri.
Renegade Maoist Santosh Jha, who formed a separate gang, is also in the list.
“The naxal leaders are flush with funds. They are using it not only to fund extremism, but also for personal things. We started with the idea of breaking their financial backbone, making them unable to buy arms and ammunition, as well as, enjoy the proceeds of their activities for their own luxury,” said Abhayanand.
The attachments are being done with the prior approval of the DGP. Such cases are then sent to the state home secretary, as the designated authority, confirms or revokes these orders within a stipulated period of 60 days.
The opportunity of making a representation is given to the person whose property has been seized during this period.
So far, the Bihar home secretary has confirmed 7 cases of attachment, while his nod is awaited in 26 other cases. Once confirmed, the only option left for the aggrieved person is to move court.