Maoists abduct forest official in Bihar, demand Rs 8 lakh ransom
The kidnapped officer, Suresh Rajak, is posted at Karar beat office in Kaimur wildlife sanctuary.
Suspected Maoist rebels abducted a forest official from a wildlife sanctuary in southwest Bihar’s Kaimur district on Monday evening and demanded a ransom of Rs 8 lakh from his family for his release, officials and his relatives said on Tuesday.
The abduction of Suresh Rajak, posted as a forester at Karar beat office in Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary, was detected in the evening after he was found missing from his office. The sanctuary is 54 kms from district headquarters Bhabua.
The beat office staff called up Kaimur divisional forest officer (DFO) Satyajeet Kumar after all efforts to locate Rajak failed. Kumar then informed the district magistrate and the police about his disappearance.
Rajak, a resident of Gaya in south-central Bihar, called his son Kaushal from his cell phone at 9.15pm and said he had been kidnapped by four armed men, who claimed to be Maoists. Kaushal said one of the abductors then took the phone and demanded the ransom and told him to arrange for the money within a week.
Beat office employee Dhananjay also claimed to have received a similar call from Rajak’s phone.
“I have informed my senior officers in Patna about the kidnapping and also about the danger forest officers and staff were facing in protecting the wildlife sanctuary,” Kumar said.
DFO Kumar said it was the third attack on forest officials posted in the sanctuary this year.
Suspected Maoists assaulted Adhaura-Akbarpur road construction staff and set ablaze a JCB machine as well as tractors near Dugdha village on February 15, he said. Kumar said goons of forest mafia attacked the forest department’s guest house at Adhaura and seriously injured guard Vinod Singh on June 7.
In a separate incident in neighbouring Rohtas district, a makeshift camp of a construction company was attacked and a machine set on fire near Shivpur village in Maoist-affected Darigav police outpost area on Monday night.
Seven armed men raided the camp of Baba Hans Construction Company, engaged in making canals under Durgawati Reservoir Project (DRP), and assaulted the staff as well.
The area is 15km south of district headquarters Sasaram and 166km southwest of Patna.
Some farmers, whose land had been acquired for the project, had threatened the staff earlier in the day. Police were investigating if the attack was carried out by farmers or Maoists, station house officer Manoj Kumar said.