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Maoists may be using villagers’ Aadhaar cards to open bank accounts, procure SIM cards

Police did not rule out the possibility of Maoists using the Aadhaar cards to open new bank accounts in the months that followed last year’s demonetisation initiative.

ranchi Updated: Mar 08, 2018 18:17 IST
Vishal Kant
Vishal Kant
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Maoist,Aadhaar,ATM
Security personnel in action against Maoists in an undisclosed location. (HT File)

Jharkhand police are investigating if outlawed Maoist groups are using Aadhaar cards of villagers to open bank accounts and procure mobile SIM cards.

Nearly 300 Aadhaar cards, two bank passbooks and ATM cards were recovered during an anti-insurgency drive in Girdih district through Tuesday and Wednesday. Fifteen suspected Maoists, including two woman cadres, were arrested and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was seized as security personnel scoured the Parasnath forested area for ultras.

“The raiding party found around 300 Aadhaar cards, passbooks and over a dozen ATM cards. We are probing if these cards have already been used to open bank accounts. We will take action accordingly once that is established,” said Ashish Batra, inspector general (special task force) and spokesperson of the Jharkhand police.

Police said many of the Aadhaar and ATM cards still remained in envelopes, unopened. They did not rule out the possibility of Maoists using the Aadhaar cards to open new bank accounts in the months that followed the 2016 demonetisation initiative.

“Several bank accounts witnessed huge deposits in Chatra district. A majority of these accounts were seized because their holders could not give satisfactory explanations regarding their sources of income,” a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.

Police also pointed out that Aadhaar cards help members of banned rebel outfits procure mobile SIM cards through civilians, thereby making surveillance difficult for security agencies. “Top Maoist commanders don’t use the same number regularly. They need as many SIM cards as possible. We can’t ignore the possibility that they must be using Aadhaar cards of villagers to procure SIMs as most outlets mandatorily seek UIDAI linkage,” the officer said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 18:00 IST