The Naxalites-sponsored Terror Inc’s rogue chest is loaded with a whopping Rs 1,000 crore. The discovery of the Naxalites’ Rs 60-crore budget for weapons procurement during 2005-07, made during the interrogation of arrested Maoist leader Misir Besra in Jharkhand, was only the tip of the iceberg.
Intelligence agencies’ estimates put the overall of CPI(Maoist) well over Rs 1,000 crore, with Bihar contributing Rs 200 crore, Chhattisgarh Rs 150 crore and mineral-rich Jharkhand an even bigger sum.
The agencies’ estimates are based on inputs regarding actual spending of Maoists. For example, while the expenditure of the polit bureau may not be too high, the central military commission, R&D wing, arms procurement wing, information and publicity wing, state committees and dalams spend big money to arm the CPI(Maoist) with intelligence and sophisticated arms and ammunition for killing security personnel and civilians.
A good chunk is spent on publicity, both through the net as well as in-house publications. For example, one of their main publications, Awam-e-Jung, has a good circulation — comprising the 10,000 cadres and many more sympathisers — despite no advertising revenue to fall back upon.
Significantly, the Naxalites depend in a big way on their urban network to source and transport weapons, fight court cases for arrested leaders, arrange medical care for the ill and wounded cadres, source uniforms and material for IEDs and run cyber and psychological campaigns. The Chhattisgarh Police, as part of its recent crackdown on the urban support network of Maoists, seized the account books of urban wing of the state which puts the total outlay at Rs 5.43 crore.
Not only this, the Chhattisgarh Police, as part of their urban crackdown over the last couple of months, seized 82-84 small arms, 60 motorola sets, uniforms enough to clothe six battalions and 81 GB worth of Naxal material that they are yet to scan.
The urban network of the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh consisted not only of lawyers, tailors but an entire travel agency under whose cover 10-12 Naxal supporters were ferrying Maoist leaders from Raipur to camps in the interiors and transporting arms consignments and other material. The travel agency has since been busted and a good part of its staff arrested for abetting Naxal activities.
The main source of Naxals’ funds are extortion from road contractors, tendu patta contractors, mining companies, illegal mining activities and other industrialists having operations in the Naxal-infested areas. In Jharkhand, in particular, the Naxalites extort significant amounts of money from illegal coal miners.
The estimated Rs 1,000-crore annual budget of the Naxalites is an obvious source of worry for the Centre as it matches the police modernisation funds that it has been disbursing to the states. It also goes against the Union home minister Shivraj Patil’s recent assertion in Parliament that the threat of Naxalism was being exaggerated by the Opposition.
After all, with a generous budget of Rs 1,000 crore, the Naxalites are now no longer relying on weapons and ammunition looted from the police for their firepower. As evident from some of the independently-procured AK-47s seized recently, the Naxalites are now actually buying these sophisticated arms from around the world and having the consignments shipped clandestinely to India or picked up from the north-eastern borders.
According to sources in Chhattisgarh Police, interrogation of arrested urban supporters of Maoists have thrown light on an aborted bid to buy AK-47s from Australian dealers and have them illegally shipped to India via Malaysia. Similarly, West Bengal police have confirmed the despatch of an arms consignment from the north-east, via West Bengal.