Investigation into a blast outside the district court here earlier this month had revealed the Maoists were targeting illegal miners for protection money and had set up a group to grab land, police have said.
A mentor of the Maoist outfit Tritiya Prastuti Committee, Ashok Baitha, recently “ordered” those workings as munshis, or managers, for those operating illegal mines -- which are widespread in Bihar – to work under the ‘rebels’ protection’, Rohtas superintendent of police Manavjeet Singh Dhillon said.
Baitha, the district police chief said, also set up a group of supporters/sympathisers for grabbing prime land in towns and along main roads and national highways.
These revelations were made by four Maoists arrested on July 18 in the court blast case, he said.
High-grade explosives, detonators, fire arms and a few vehicles were recovered during raids on an outhouse of Baitha and two other Maoist leaders.
A man, believed to be a member of Baitha’s land-grab gang, was killed on July 13 when a bomb blew up his motorcycle. The bomb was planted on the bike, police said. In March, an advocate’s clerk, suspected to one of Baitha’s men, was injured in a blast.
They used to threaten owners into transferring land in the name of Maoists or their sympathisers, the officer said.
Sandip Da alias Moti Lal Soren, the mastermind of the recent attack in Gaya that left 10 CRPF men dead, too, had accumulated wealth through similar means.
A member of the Maoists’ Bihar and Jharkhand special area committee, Soren had invested huge sums of money in real estate and even owned a realty firm in Kolkata, sources said.