Top Naxal leader Dinesh Gope on the run for two decades held in Delhi

| Updated: 22 May, 2023 12:09 pm IST

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday arrested the absconding self-styled Supremo of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a proscribed Naxal outfit of Jharkhand. He was nabbed in New Delhi.

Dinesh Gope alias Kuldeep Yadav alias Badku of district Khunti in Jharkhand was earlier chargesheeted by the NIA in the case relating to the recovery of demonetized currency of Rs 25.38 lakhs from the operatives of PLFI. He was absconding in the said case, one of the two cases being investigated by the NIA Ranchi Branch against the PLFI.

According to NIA investigations, more than 102 criminal cases are registered against the accused Dinesh Gope in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar, and Odisha. Most of these cases relate to murders, abductions, threats, extortion, and raising funds for the PLFI, a militant Maoist outfit formed in 2007 in Jharkhand and also a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

NIA had also declared a reward of Rs 5 lakhs for leads on Dinesh, in addition to the reward of Rs. 25 lakhs announced by the Jharkhand Government. He had been absconding for almost two decades.

On February 3, 2022, an encounter had taken place between a Dinesh-led PLFI squad and security personnel in the forest area under Gudri Police station of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Several rounds were fired in the encounter before the rebels sneaked into the forest and Dinesh Gope managed to escape. He had been absconding since then, and had been taking shelter at different places while making all efforts to re-establish the PLFI’s stronghold in Jharkhand.

Gope used to extort money and execute attacks through his PLFI team members to terrorize businessmen, contractors, and the public at large, NIA investigations have shown. The accused, along with his associates, was involved in depositing the demonetized currency in a bank account at a Petrol Pump, to be later collected through extortion. The illegal money was then invested through banking channels and dubious Shell Companies in the name of close associates and family members of the accused Dinesh Gope.

The case was initially registered on November 10, 2016, at Jharkhand’s Ranchi, and re-registered by NIA on January 19, 2018. The police had filed the first Chargesheet against four persons on January 9, 2017. NIA filed the first Supplementary Chargesheet in the case against 11 accused, including Dinesh Gope. Subsequently, NIA filed the second Supplementary Chargesheet in the case on July 23, 2022, against five individuals and three private limited companies. NIA had also attached 14 bank accounts and two cars, along with cash and immovable property worth more than a crore, in the case.

Known previously as Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), PLFI is responsible for hundreds of terror incidents in Jharkhand, including several murders using firearms, as per the NIA investigations. The outfit used to lure unemployed youth by providing them motorbikes, mobile phones, and easy money and after imparting training, used to equip them with lethal weapons to carry out terror incidents.

Extortion is PLFI’s major source of income and the outfit has been targeting coal traders, railway contractors, and various private entities involved in developmental projects in various districts of Jharkhand.

Dinesh was involved in a criminal conspiracy to funnel extorted funds from contractors and businessmen engaged in developmental projects in Jharkhand. He invested these funds in dubious shell companies like Palak Enterprises, Shiv Adi Shakti, M/s Shiv Shakti Samridhi Infra Pvt. Ltd., and Bhavya Engicon, formed in collaboration with other PLFI associates and his family members. The extorted money was transferred from Jharkhand to other locations through a network of hawala operators.

In July 2007, Masi Charan Purty, a former member of the CPI-Maoist, joined forces with Dinesh Gope and his followers to establish PLFI as a Naxal outfit. Although Masi Charan Purty was later apprehended, the PLFI expanded its activities under Gope’s leadership. He accumulated significant amounts of extortion money, which he used to acquire sophisticated weapons, including AK-47s and foreign-made rifles such as the HK 33.

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