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Kochang gangrape accused reveal Maharashtra funding link, Gujarat guidance to Pathalgadi

Jharkhand police on Sunday arrested Pathalgadi masterminds and main accused John Jonas Tidu and Balram Samad in the gangrape of five tribal girls in Kochang jungles under Khunti district on June 19.

ranchi Updated: Jul 24, 2018 15:13 IST
Debashish Sarkar
Debashish Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Pathalgadi,Kochang gangrape case,John Jonas Tidu
File photo of John Jonas Tidu, one of the accused arrested on charges of allegedly gangraping five NGO workers in Jharkhand’s Kochang village on June 19, 2018.(HT File Photo )

Jharkhand police will send separate teams to investigate the leads provided by Pathalgadi masterminds John Jonas Tidu and Balram Samad about suspected funding link in Maharashtra and conceptual guidance from Gujarat to the movement, top police officials said on Monday.

The two were arrested on Sunday on charges of allegedly gangraping five tribal girls at Kochang village on June 19.

The teams will also track chief protagonist of Pathalgadi movement Dr Yusuf Purty who is suspected to be hiding in Maharashtra, and Babita Kacchhap, whose Facebook posts till February this year suggested that she was shifting places in Maharasthra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Babita has been absconding since February.

“Khunti police will take Tidu and Balram on remand and further interrogation is expected to reveal more details about clues they have already given. Police teams are being sent to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to follow up the leads that emerged during the preliminary investigation. Ranchi IG and senior police officials are directly monitoring the matter and investigation is on,” said Kuldeep Dwivedi, Kolhan IG on Monday.

“Both were trying to flee to Nagpur as they had supporters in Maharashtra and Gujarat. They were in touch with an advocate based in Nagpur and their first objective was to meet him in Nagpur. Tidu has been staying in different places in and around Jamshedpur for past five days and we’ve been tracking him by his mobile locations,” Anoop Birthare, Jamshedpir SSP, said.

Both were also scheduled to participate in a Tribal Conclave in Nagpur in August this year.

Police sources said a Nepali diplomatic staff posted at the United Nation was also under scanner for providing support to Pathalgadi agitators.

“He had come to Jharkhand last year and participated in many programmes along with arrested Pathalgadi masterminds Vijay Kujur, absconding Babita Kacchhap and others. His role is also being probed,” police sources said.

According to police, a person based in Chandrapur (Maharashtra) was financially supporting Pathalgadi supporters in the state.

“He has already been interrogated once but has denied all allegations. Special investigating team will visit Maharashtra and follow up the leads. So far, Santosh Yatram based in Chandrapura in Maharshtra, Ravindra Kesri ‘Dada’ based in Tapi district of Gujarat and a suspended jailer in Chhattisgarh have been identified as those providing outside support to Pathalgadi rebellion,” a police officer said.

Tidu and Samad have also told the police that Dr Yusuf is known as Professor in Pathalgdi areas and took charge of the movement after Seraikela-Kharsawan police arrested Shipping Corporation of India employee Vijay Kujur from Delhi in March this year. Police have so far arrested 22 accused in connection with Pathalgadi movement.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 15:12 IST