One village-based Maoist group alone deposited old currency notes worth Rs 2 lakh in banks in the weeks after demonetisation last year, ANI reported on Thursday, citing handwritten financial accounts found after a police encounter in Chhattisgarh this month.
The Centre has often claimed that the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 hit terror funding and led to a reduction in Naxalite activity. After demonetisation, the government had enforced limits on the amount of invalidated currency being deposited or exchanged in banks.
“This balance sheet is only of one janatana sarkar [local government],” an unnamed police officer told The Indian Express. “Every Maoist organisation, from the special zonal committee to the janatana sarkar, has separate accounts and would have exchanged their notes. We cannot even begin to quantify the amount.”
At least 20 pages of financial accounts, maintained between 2013 and 2017 by the “Nelnar area janatana sarkar [the local government of Nelnar village in Narayanpur district]” were seized by the state police after an encounter on November 7. Six Maoists were reportedly killed in the encounter.
However, the police said the Maoists might have used villagers to deposit such large amounts of cash.
“It is true that Maoist groups would have exchanged some amount of the demonetised cash,” DM Awasthi, special director general of anti-Naxalite operations, told The Indian Express. “They could have used villagers, forcing them to deposit cash in their bank accounts, as also contractors who they levy taxes from.”
After demonetisation, banned notes worth up to Rs 1.05 crore were seized from 27 people across seven Maoist-affected districts in the state, police said.