Dinesh Gope, the self-styled supremo of the outlawed Naxal organization People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), was sentenced to eight days in detention by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on Monday.
Gope alias Kuldeep Yadav alias Badku appeared in NIA court Wednesday, a day after being nabbed by the anti-terror agency in the national capital. Dinesh Gope, a resident of Jharkhand’s Khunti district, had previously been charged by the NIA in connection with the recovery of Rs 25.38 lakh in demonetized cash from PLFI operatives.
He was on the run for a case, which is one of two being examined by the NIA’s Ranchi office against the PLFI.
At least 102 criminal cases are currently registered against Gope in Jharkhand, as the NIA investigation. These cases are registered in Jharkhand, Bihar, and Odisha and are related to murders, abductions, threats, and extortion. Other than this Dinesh Gope is also accused of raising funds for PLFI, a naxal outfit that was formed in 2007 in the state of Jharkhand and was a faction of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).
In addition to the Rs 25 lakh reward promised by the Jharkhand government, the NIA has set a reward of Rs 5 lakh for information on Dinesh Gope. “Gope had been absconding for almost two decades,” according to the NIA.
Dinesh Gope had managed to escape an encounter in February last year
Last year, on February 3 an encounter occurred between a Gope-led PLFI team and security officers in the forest region under Gudri Police Station in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district.
“Several rounds were fired in the encounter before the rebels sneaked into the forest and 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,” the agency told.
NIA also said that Gope used to extort money and carry out attacks through his PLFI team members in order to terrorize businessmen, contractors, and the general population. “Gope along with his associates was involved in depositing the demonetized currency in a bank account at a petrol pump to be later collected through levy and 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 Gope,” the NIA told referring to its investigation.
The case was first filed on November 10, 2016, at Ranchi’s Bero Police Station, and was re-registered on January 19, 2018, by the NIA. On January 9, 2017, the police issued the first Chargesheet against four people.
In the case, the NIA filed the first Supplementary Chargesheet against 11 defendants, including Dinesh Gope. On July 23, last year, the NIA filed the second supplemental chargesheet in the case against five persons and three private limited firms.
NIA attached 1 crore assets belonging to the PLFI
In this case, the NIA also attached 14 bank accounts and two cars, as well as cash and immovable property worth more than a crore. The PLFI, formerly known as the Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), is responsible for hundreds of terror acts in Jharkhand, including multiple murders using weapons. “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. The naxal outfit had also formed alliances with different criminal gangs in order to spread their nefarious activities, and executed several incidents of murders and arson in Jharkhand,” NIA stated.
The central investigation agency revealed that Dinesh Gope was a member of a criminal conspiracy to channel extorted monies gathered from contractors and businesses involved in Jharkhand development projects. “Gope was involved in investing these funds in dubious shell companies like Palak Enterprises, Shiv Adi Shakti, Shiv Shakti Samridhi Infra Pvt Ltd and Bhavya Engicon, formed in partnership with other PLFI associates and his family members. The extorted money was also being transferred from Jharkhand to other places through a network of hawala operators.”
Reportedly, Masi Charan Purty, a renegade of the CPI-Maoist, and many of his supporters joined Gope in July 2007 in order to establish PLFI as a Naxal organization. Despite the fact that Masi Charan Purty was later imprisoned, the federal authorities stated that the PLFI expanded its operations under Gope’s supervision.
Dinesh Gope used to gather large sums of extortion money, which he then used to purchase sophisticated weaponry like AK 47s and foreign-made rifles such as the HK 33.