PLFI terror-funding case: NIA, Jharkhand Police conduct searches, seize arms, ammunition

New Delhi: The NIA on Wednesday said it has seized a large amount of explosives, arms and ammunition from Jharkhand in the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) terror-funding case over the past two days.

The searches were conducted with the support of the Jharkhand Police, an official spokesperson of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.

Disclosures made by Dinesh Gope, who has been in NIA custody for the last eight days following his arrest in the case on May 21, led to the seizures, made from Khunti, Gumla and Simdega districts of Jharkhand on Monday and Tuesday.

Gope, who had been absconding before he was caught in Delhi, had earlier also led the NIA to a huge cache of arms and ammunition in a forest in Gumla.

The NIA and the Jharkhand Police on Monday recovered about 62.3 kg of gelatin and 732 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition from Jhariatoli, Garai under Rania police station limits in Khunti, the spokesperson said.

The same day, one pistol, 11 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition and 30 rounds of .303 ammunition were seized from Kisni village in Kamdara area of Gumla. Subsequently, on Tuesday, two IEDs were also seized from the forest hill of Mahuatoli under Mahabuang police station limits in Simdega.

This was the third such seizure in less than a week. On May 26, a huge cache of ammunition (1,245 rounds of 7.62 mm and 271 rounds of 5.56 mm) was seized as a result of sustained investigations into the case following Gope’s arrest, the NIA said.

Gope alias Kuldeep Yadav of district Khunti in Jharkhand was earlier charge-sheeted by the NIA in the case related to the recovery of demonetised currency of Rs 25.38 lakh from the operatives of PLFI – a proscribed Maoist outfit.

He had been absconding and was finally nabbed by the NIA on May 21. On May 22, a special court sent him to NIA custody.

The NIA had declared a reward of Rs 5 lakh for information leading to Dinesh’s arrest, in addition to a reward of Rs 25 lakh announced by the Jharkhand government.

Gope used to extort money and execute attacks through his PLFI team members to terrorise and intimidate businessmen, contractors and the public at large, NIA investigations have shown.

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.

Previously known as Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), the PLFI is responsible for hundreds of terror incidents in Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha including several murders through the use of weapons, according to NIA investigations.

The outfit used to lure unemployed youth by providing them with motorcycles, mobile phones and easy money.