During successive raids conducted since Saturday night, the Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorist squad (UP-ATS) arrested nine people, including three suspected to be involved in Maoist operations, from Noida’s Hindon Vihar and Sadarpur.
A tenth person was arrested from Chandoli in eastern UP and three guns, including an INSAS rifle with three magazines, were seized from him during raid on Sunday morning.
Following the seizure of 45 Gelatine rods, 125 detonators, pistols and nearly 90 live cartridges at Noida, the officials suspect that the group had “more intent than just indulging in criminal activities.” Those arrested from Noida includes Ranjit Paswan, with five known cases against his name, including those under the Explosives Act and Gangster Act, at Chandoli in UP, Bhabhua and Rohtash in Bihar.
“Paswan had been an area commander of Peoples’ War Group and joined the Maoist group in 2003. He was arrested in 2004 and awarded 9 years’ imprisonment. After jail, he rejoined Maoist activities in 2012. During early raids on Saturday, we only suspected that the group was preparing a base in Noida for criminal activities. However, with recovery of detonators and Geltine rods, we sense it is much more,” said UP-ATS inspector general, Asim Arun.
Six arrests were made from a flat in Hindon Vihar while three others were picked up from Sadarpur in Noida. Official sources said Paswan had training in operating SLRs and carbines. He and his arrested accomplice, Krishna Kumar from Bihar, are said to be adept at making bombs. Following the arrests and a further police remand, officials hinted at more arrests and recoveries.
“However, so far, we ruled out any of their links with any terror outfits. They were trying to connive with local criminals and gangs in order to set up a base for operation. They are low on resources and trying to generate money from western UP by involving in criminal activities. But how, where and when they were going to use the detonators and Gelatine rods, is a big question and also a serious cause of concern,” Arun said.
The two articles are largely used in mining. The officials said they had put the group on surveillance for the past month and had to conduct raids as they had planned to bring some “big weapon” from Bihar to Noida. Officials said they possess AK-47s in Bihar.
The other major arrest was early on Sunday morning when Sunil Ravidas was arrested at Chandoli following information from those nabbed at Noida. The ATS team recovered an INSAS rifle along with magazines, suspected to be stolen from the forces. Two other factory made guns with cartridges were also seized.