The Ruias-led Essar Group in Chhattisgarh is reportedly not cooperating with the Chhattisgarh police investigating the company’s alleged role in giving cash to Maoists in Dantewada, 400 km south of Raipur.
On Friday last the Danewada police caught a civil contractor BK Lala working for Essar and Lingaram Kodopi (suspected Maoists supporter) and recovered Rs 15 lakhs from them. The money according to the contractor was to be given to the guerillas on behalf of the Essar.
Kodopi has been sent to jail and Lala taken into police remand.
Dantewada superintendent of police Ankit Garg told HT that the Essar’s cash transfer to naxals is very serious issue and the police had begun its probe when the two were held for alleged payment of money by the company.
“FIR has been registered and we have asked the general manager of Essar based in Dantewada on telephone seeking the company’s cooperation in the investigation. When the company didn’t respond, we served them notice. Still no one turned up from the Essar till Monday late evening,” Garg said.
While the company admitted that Lala has been doing some miscellaneous contract works for Essars but the company’s unidentified spokesperson in an e-mail to HT said that Essar is law abiding corporate and did not find it necessary to react to such allegations.
“Simply by saying they are the law abiding corporate they cannot just get away with the statement given to the media. They should clear the air on the issue,” Dantewada SP said.
A year ago state chief minister Raman Singh said the extortion economy of the Maoists is over 1000 crore annually while the then state director general of police in November 2009 had claimed the figure as high as Rs 1800 crore.
The Wikileaks revelation citing a leaked US diplomatic cable dated 11 January 2010 said that Essar Group involved in mining and steel-related business pays protection money to Maoists in Chhattisgarh to safeguard its operations.