New NIA wing to probe terror funding by Naxals

PTI file photo for representation.

A dedicated wing is being set up in the NIA to go after Naxal leaders and their sympathizers, who are allegedly involved in large-scale money laundering and spending huge amounts in the higher education of their children, officials have said.

The Home Ministry recently gave its approval for setting up the dedicated wing in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for the task.

The move came following the NIA's extensive terror-funding probe against Kashmiri separatists, during which the central probe agency arrested several leaders of the Hurriyat and their kin, including the son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Sayed Salahuddin and the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

"A dedicated wing of the NIA is coming up to take up the terror funding and money laundering cases of the Naxals. The home ministry has given the necessary approval for it," a Home Ministry official told PTI.

The NIA will go after the Naxal leaders and their sympathizers who are involved in all such cases, the official said.

In February, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth Rs 86 lakh of a Jharkhand-based Maoist commander, Sandeep Yadav.

It also attached assets worth Rs 68 lakh of two senior Maoist leaders -- Bihar-based brothers Pradumn Sharma and Pramod Sharma -- in connection with a money-laundering probe against them.

Pradumn has several aliases such as Kundan Ji, Lulha, Saket, Anish Ji and is in charge of the Magadh zone special area committee of Bihar-Jharkhand of Naxalites.

Pramod, having aliases such as Prabhakar Ji and Pramod Singh, is the secretary of Banawar sub-area zonal committee of the CPI (Maoist).

The investigation has found that proceeds of crime have been utilized by Pradumn and Pramod to make huge expenses towards the admission of Pramod's daughter in a medical college and coaching of their son and daughter at coaching institutes in Kota and Patna, an official said requesting anonymity.

The Maoists are known for often blowing up schools or hampering the spread of educational institutions in its area of influence but for the education of their children, they are spending in lakhs of rupees, the official said.

There have been allegations against several contractors who are collecting levy and laundering it on behalf of Naxal leaders in Jharkhand, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh.

All these cases may be taken over by the NIA and probed as terror funding and money laundering, the official said.

As many as 90 districts in 10 states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh -- are hit by Left Wing Extremism.

The geographical spread of the Left Wing Extremism has shrunk significantly in the last four years due to a multi-pronged strategy involving security- and development-related measures.

The significant features of the anti-Naxal policy were zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to development activities so that the benefits of new roads, bridges, telephone towers reach the poor and the vulnerable in the affected areas, another official said. 

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