Nearly five months after it was constituted to probe into the alleged cash transfer by the Essar Group to Maoists, the special investigation team (SIT) has produced a challan against six in Dantewada court, about 400 km south of Raipur on Tuesday.
Inspector general of police (CID) PN Tiwari who heads a four-member investigating team told Hindustan Times that relying on the statements, seized documents and call record details the SIT produced a charge-sheet against six including the two absconding Maoists Raghu and Vinod.
Civil contractor BK Lala, Essar general manager DVCS Verma, tribal teacher Soni Sori and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi were the others charge-sheeted.
Lala and Verma who are out on bail appeared before the court on Tuesday in Dantewada. However, the police didn’t produce Sori and Kodopi, the two suspected Maoists’ supporters who allegedly acted as conduit in transferring the cash in September last at Dantewada.
“I don’t say the newer findings in our investigations were of serious nature but definitely we made headway on the basis of which the charge-sheet was prepared”, Tiwari said and added that the investigation will continue further.
The then Dantewada district police chief Ankit Garg who was investigating the case, before the SIT was created by Chhattisgarh police on October 5, maintained that the Essar was involved into cash transfer to the Maoists. The company’s representatives however strongly denied of any linkage to such payouts.
Essar refuted all allegations. “These accusations are being made to hurt the reputation of the group. Essar is a law abiding corporate and making meaningful contribution in the growth of the country for the last forty years”, the company’s spokesperson said in an e-mail response to HT.
The IG admitted the SIT took time to investigate and prepare the challan against the accused. “The officials in the probe team are based in the state capital and are simultaneously working on other responsibilities. Besides frequent visits to Dantewada in connection with the case were not possible”, Tiwari said.
The other members of the SIT are DIG Vivekanand Sinha, additional SP (Crime) Ajatshatru Bahadur and the SDOP of Kirandul (Dantewada) Anshuman Sisodiya who is an investigating officer.