The Jharkhand police and income tax department officials began a probe on Wednesday following reports that state’s banned rebel group, Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), had deposited around Rs10 crore in the accounts of villagers.
According to sources, TPC chief Brajesh Ganjhu held a meeting with around 200 villagers on November 11 where he asked them to deposit their money in their Jan Dhan Yojna accounts, old age pension, scholarship scheme, MNREGS and other savings accounts.
The police claim to have got the list of account holders who had zero balance on November 8 but now have between Rs 40,000 and Rs 49,000.
“Yes, we have got some information in this regard. The I-T department has been informed. A probe is on,” Jharkhand police spokesperson MS Bhatia said.
“We are keeping a close watch on the accounts of villagers. Awareness is being spread through posters… they will be held responsible for such transactions if caught. We are also assuring villagers of all help and protection from the rebels,” Bhatia added.
Sources in the department said the onus to give alerts about suspected transactions lies with banks. These alerts are sent to financial intelligence unit (FIU), which refers the cases to appropriate authorities such as the National Investigation Agency, Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate for further probe.
“We investigate when we get the alerts. The Maoist money being deposited to Jan Dhan accounts involve criminal conspiracy and require probe by multiple agencies,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
The Jharkhand government has formed a multi-disciplinary task force comprising officials from various departments to stop the extremists from getting their old notes exchanged in banks through villagers.
The government’s move to ban high-value currency has also sparked off a poster war of sorts between rebel groups and the police in Jharkhand’s countryside as the Maoists jockey to access funds.
And caught in the crossfire are villagers, contractors and businessmen. Posters by rebel groups in their strongholds are asking contractors and businessmen to pay specified levies failing which they will not allow them to work.
The government’s move has virtually made the rebels — there are at least seven banned left-wing extremist groups in Jharkhand — bankrupt.