The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday (21 May) arrested Dinesh Gope, alias Kuldeep Yadav, a self-styled leader of banned Maoist outfit People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI).
The PLFI is a militant Maoist outfit and also a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) formed in 2007 in Jharkhand.
Gope had been on the run for nearly two decades and the Jharkhand government had announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh for information on his whereabouts, with the NIA adding a further reward of Rs 5 lakh.
He is wanted in over 100 cases that have been filed against him in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha, with most of these involving charges of murder, abduction, threat, extortion and fundraising for the PLFI.
Gope was picked up from Nepal and brought to Delhi by the anti-terror probe agency.
According to an Indian Express report, a phone call from Gope's personal number, used extremely rarely, helped the security forces to zero in on his location.
For the last 13 months, Gope posed as a Sikh man from Punjab and ran a dhaba in Nepal’s Biratnagar, near the international border with India in Bihar, IE reported.
Gope reportedly moved to Nepal after an encounter between a PLFI squad he was leading and security personnel in the forests of Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district.
“He came to Nepal through the border in Bihar, and opened a dhaba by hiring three local residents. At the same time, he started wearing a turban to escape notice,” a source was quoted by IE as saying.
He always used to made calls to the PLFI area commanders from a new handset and SIM card each time and immediately destroyed both.
Agencies get to know about Gope's personal number, which he didn't share with anyone, after he made an extortion call to a BJP leader in Jharkhand.
The agencies than collected more details, following which a team was sent to Nepal to verify.
"They were shocked after seeing him in the Dhaba (in Biratnagar). After monitoring his activity, the team picked him up in Nepal and handed him over to the NIA, which arrested him in Delhi,” a source was quoted by IE as saying.
Gope reportedly told investigators that he extorted close to Rs 120 crore annually from the contractors and businessmen and routed the money through banking channels and dubious shell companies in the name of close associates and family members.
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