Demonetisation Is Likely To Hit Maoist Finances In A Significant Way

Demonetisation Is Likely To Hit  Maoist Finances In A Significant WayIndian currency notes (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Many are saying that demonetisation will affect anti-India terrorist groups. They may have a point as explained here by T S Sudhir. The police force in Chhattisgarh believe that a significant amount of money, a lot of it being denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, is hidden in the state’s forest areas, as well as in Jharkhand and Odisha.

With demonetisation coming into effect, the forces believe that Maoists may attempt to take their money out of the safe hideouts. So, these forest areas are currently under the radar. The police believe that much of this money comes through extortion from contractors of tendu patta (used to manufacture beedis), infrastructure firms and even illegal mining mafia groups. Another avenue of extortion is money collected as tax on vehicles passing through the Maoist-held areas.

In a 2013 report, the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) estimated the extortion amount to be Rs 140 crore per year. But Chhattisgarh police claim the extortion amount to be up to Rs 2,000 crore. And as of now, they believe that close to Rs 7,500 crore would be hidden in Chhattisgarh.

When in 2007 a central committee member of CPI (Maoist), Misir Besra, was arrested, it was discovered that the Maoists had held in reserve:

  1. Rs 42 crore for arms, ammunition and explosives
  2. Rs 2 crore for intelligence gathering
  3. Rs 16 crore for propaganda, computer training, documentation and transport

According to the Union Home Ministry, close to Rs 320 crore is extorted every year in Jharkhand. Police sources say the Maoists allegedly pay a monthly remuneration to their cadre in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, depending on their rank and duration.

Now, if the Maoists do possess even a fraction of the amount estimated by the security agencies, their operations will be hampered significantly. The attack on Maoist finances will bring the security forces plenty of solace.