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Top Maoist Leader Ran Dhaba In Nepal, Wore Turban To Hide Identity: Sources

Dinesh Gope was arrested from Delhi on Sunday.

New Delhi/Ranchi:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a self-styled leader of a proscribed Maoist outfit, who was involved in over 100 criminal cases across three states.

Dinesh Gope was arrested in Nepal on Sunday where he ran a dhaba for the last 13 months, posing as a Sikh man, sources said, adding that he wore a turban to hide his identity.

On February 3 last year, an encounter had taken place between the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) member-led by Gope and the security forces in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum, but he managed to escape.

Gope escaped to Nepal after the encounter and stared the dhaba in Biratnagar, near the international border with India in Bihar, it’s learnt.

Sources said Gope used to destroy his mobile phones and sim cards after making calls to the “area commanders” of his outfit in Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. However, a call made by Gope from his personal number earlier this year helped security forces trace his Nepal location.

“Gope had been on the run for almost two decades,” said the NIA.

Gope was earlier chargesteeted by the anti-terror agency in 2018 over recovery of demonetised currency worth Rs 25 lakh from the operatives of People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) – the Maoist outfit led by him.

Of the 102 cases registered against Gope in Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha, most relate to murders, abductions, threats, extortion, and raising funds for the PLFI.

The NIA had declared a reward of Rs 5 lakh for leads on Gope, in addition to Rs 25 lakh reward announced by the Jharkhand government

Gope is accused of extorting money from businessmen and contractors, which was used by the outfit to procure sophisticated weapons, including AK 47s and foreign-made Rifles, such as HK 33.

He reportedly told officials during interrogation that his group extorted about Rs 120 crore annually from them.

“Gope was involved in investing these funds in dubious shell companies, formed in partnership with other PLFI associates and his family members. The extorted money was also being transferred from Jharkhand to other places through a network of hawala operators,” the NIA said.

PLFI, previously known as Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), is responsible for hundreds of terror incidents in Jharkhand, including several murders.

“The outfit used to lure unemployed youths by providing them motor bikes, mobile phones and easy money. After imparting training, the outfit used to equip them with lethal weapons to carry out terror incidents,” the agency said.

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