In a joint operation, the Ranchi police, Palamu district police and Delhi police seized a consignment of sophisticated gadgets meant for Maoists operating in Jharkhand.
The consignment — which includes wireless sets, walkie-talkies, cellphones, transistors and bulletproof jackets — was allegedly sent to Ranchi from New Delhi by an Air India cargo plane a few days back.
The consignment was seized from three youth near Ranchi’s AI office on Tuesday. Within minutes, the Special Cell of the Delhi police arrested an electronics goods trader from Palika Bazaar. Police said Praveen Sharma, 50, supplied electronic gizmos and bulletproof jackets to Naxalite leaders. Sharma will be handed over to the Jharkhand police on Thursday.
In May, Delhi police had arrested Yogendra Bhokta, zonal commander of the Maoist Communist Centre in the city.
The arrests came after HT reported the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had issued a circular asking its cadres to “expand the guerrilla war and Naxal influence to newer areas”.
One-fourth of the nation’s 600 districts are Naxalite-affected. Since January, Naxals, also called Maoists, have killed more than 200 security personnel in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
As soon as the trio — identified as Ashish Sharma, Rahul Sharma and Robin Sawar — received the consignment, a police team, acting on a tip-off from an arrested Naxal leader, swooped on them.
Then the police arrested Naresh Sharma, project director of Shekhar Construction, alleged recipient of the consignment, from Daltonganj in Palamu. Sharma told the police he had to deliver the consignment to a central committee member of the CPI (Maoists).
An AI official who didn’t want to be named said the airlines was unaware of the consignment’s recipients. “Since the gadgets booked were not banned, the airlines had no problem in transporting them.”
(Inputs from Delhi bureau)