The Chhattisgarh Police have arrested a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader and one other person in Dantewada district for supplying a tractor to Maoists in the state, PTI reported on Sunday.
Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava said the accused have been identified as Jagat Pujari and Ramesh Usendi and were arrested on Saturday. Pujari, a native of Barsoor village, is the vice-president of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Dantewada district unit.
Pallava said Pujari was under surveillance after the district police received inputs about his involvement in supply of materials to the Maoists in Abhujmad area. The tractor he purchased was for Maoist leader Ajay Alami, who carries a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his arrest, according to NDTV. The tractor, worth Rs 9,10,000 has also been seized.
“For past few months we have been intercepting calls of many Maoist leaders, including Alami, and Pujari’s cell number had come up several times for supply of materials,” Pallava added. “Recently, Alami told Pujari that they needed a tractor, which the latter must buy because he has earned a lot. While Pujari agreed to foot the bill, he said they would need someone whose documents could be used for the purchase. So, they roped in Ramesh Usendi whose wife is from Alami’s village.”
The police set up barricades at two places near Geedam town in Dantewada and checked all new tractors. Usendi was driving the tractor when police caught him. “During the interrogation, Usendi revealed that Maoist leader Alami had given him Rs 4 lakh to procure a tractor and told that Pujari will help him in the entire process,” the superintendent of police said.
The police arrested Pujari after this and he confessed that he had been supplying goods to Maoists. “Pujari has been in various contract works in the region for the past 10 years and we were getting inputs about various items being supplied by him to the Maoists,” Pallav told The New Indian Express. “Recently he is said to have delivered 100 radio sets, printer, laptops among other items through some mediators.”
The accused have been booked under provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005. Further investigation in the case is underway.
Meanwhile, BJP’s District President Chaitram Attami said that senior state leaders have been informed about the arrests and they will decide on the action to be taken against Pujari.