Naxals: Govt wants NIA to probe US rifle seizure

The recent seizure of a US Army-issued assault rifle from a senior cadre of CPI(Maoist) by the Jharkhand Police has set the alarm bell ringing among the security establishment here. The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought details regarding the seizures. The Centre wants to carry out a probe by the National Investigation Agency as the inquiry so far has not been able to progress beyond two arrests.
Jharkhand Police has seized a M-16 assault rifle, one A K 56, four 9 mm pistols with live cartridges, cash, mobile phone and a bullet proof vest from senior CPI(Maoist) cadre Anil Yadav and arms supplier Prafulla Malakar. Details emerging after questioning the duo has revealed that these weapons were procured through middlemen. “There are some specific leads which need to be probed by a Central agency as it will involve inter-state coordination. The probe by police has so far not been able to move beyond the local module,” said an official.
The man suspected to be carrying out the trading of weapons has been identified as Dev Kumar Singh alias Arvindji, a central committee member and secretary of Bihar, Jharkhand and north Chhattisgarh operations. “From the details emerging so far, it is possible that Arvindji might have procured these weapons from northeast groups. Another senior Maoist leader, Prashando Bose alias Kishanda, presently on the run is among the prime suspect,” said the official.
The questioning of arrested duo revealed that the small arms were being procured by the Maoists for the protection of senior Maoist cadres, said officials. Central intelligence agencies suspect that such sophisticated weapons — seized from Maoists for the first time — may have been supplied by the northeast insurgent groups. “We have recently unearthed a nexus between People Liberation Army of Manipur and CPI(Maoist) where the former was helping Naxals to procure sophisticated arms and impart training to their cadres,” explained an official.
Between the PLA and Maoists, there was a joint declaration in 2008 and investigation has shown that Rs 33 lakh was paid by Maoists towards procurement of weapons and communication equipment. The deal between PLA and Maoists was fixed at Rs 50 lakh. However, seizure of M-16 Colt rifle has taken agencies by surprise. “We want to unearth the entire network and identify the supply chain. We have sought the opinion of local administration for a probe by the NIA,” added the MHA official.


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