Suspected Maosits shot dead a driver of JCB payloader and set on fire five trucks and motorcycle in Lakhisarai district of south central Bihar in the wee hours of Saturday.
Police said the incident took place at Gangatia ghat on the bank of Kiul river at Badaspur village, in Chanan police station area, where sand mafia had been dumping their stock.
The Maoists, donning police uniform, attacked the hub of the illegal sand trade early Saturday morning and fired 15 to 20 rounds, killing the driver of a JCB payloader, the police said. The extremists also set on fire five trucks, parked there for lifting the illegally mined sand and a motorcycle before fleeing from there, the police added.
The victim had been identified as Rajesh Kumar, who had been operating the JCB payloader at a monthly salary of Rs 7,000, the police said.
Lakhisarai superintendent of police (SP) Ashok Kumar confirmed the incident and said the Maoists had apparently demanded ‘levy’ from the sand mafia for carrying out their illegal activity. “It is apprehended that non-payment of the amount could be behind the attack,” the SP said.
Ashok Kumar said it was probably the first time that suspected Maoists had targeted the sand mafia.
Inspector general (operations) Kundan Krishnan told HT in Patna that the Lakhisarai SP had been directed to investigate if the incident was a result of rivalry between two groups involved in illegal sand business. “Usually Maoists leave behind pamphlets after carrying out their operations. No such pamphlet was found at the site of the incident on Saturday,” Krishnan added.
Lakhisarai district, about 101 km southeast of Patna, has been Maoist-infested due to its geographical layout and difficult hilly terrains.