Monday, April 14, 2008

Naxals earn Rs 1,000 cr in ’07, increase levies to set target of 1,125 cr for ’08

Naxals earn Rs 1,000 cr in ’07, increase levies to set target of 1,125 cr for ’08

HYDERABAD: A revenue collection of Rs1,000 crore in 2007 and a target of Rs1,125 crore for 2008 with a 25% increase in levies.

These innocuous-looking figures are not part of the yearly fiscal report and projections of some government agency, but ominous snippets from the annual Maoist budget.

Recent documents and hard disks seized from Misir Mishra, a central committee member of the CPI (Maoist) arrested in Jharkhand last month, reveal that the naxals not only run a parallel government in certain pockets of the country but also have a well-organised ‘finance ministry’ which maintains a record of every penny earned and spent, hikes taxes and sets targets.

According to Mishra’s revelations, Maoists collected over Rs1,000 crore in 2007 through their state committees and have set a target of Rs1,125 crore for 2008.
The Andhra Pradesh police have discovered a long list of donors, contractors and industrialists who contributed to naxal coffers. Article 60 of the constitution of the CPI (Maoists) lists membership fees, levies, donations, taxes, penalties and wealth confiscated from enemies as the source of revenue.

According to the police, the last congress of the CPI (Maoists) held at Abujmad in Chhattisgarh fixed a revenue target of Rs1,125 crore for the current year and, accordingly, increased the levies on the state committees by over 25%. The documents showed that Andhra Pradesh had gone down in the fund raising ranking from the second to third spot after Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

Mishra is learnt to have told his interrogators that while Bihar raised Rs200 crore, AP’s collection came down from Rs300 crore to Rs100 crore last year.

Jharkhand raised Rs75 crore in 2007 and would raise Rs110 crore in 2008. Maharashtra raised Rs100 crore while Karnataka contributed Rs78 crore and Tamil Nadu pitched in with Rs35 crore in 2007.

Mishra reportedly told the police that some prominent Maoists leaders like Sambashivudu alone raised over Rs80 crore and party secretary Ganapati raised Rs285 crore in 2007.

“All the leaders operated their own bank accounts, funded their units and operations but reported to the central committee. They also contributed to the corpus fund of the central military commission separately for the maintenance of the provincial guerrilla army,” Mishra is learnt to have revealed.

Major sources of income for the Maoists were road contractors, contractors for forest produce like tendu leaves (beedi leaves), bamboo and wood. They have reportedly made deals with poachers, smugglers and liquor and timber runners in the forests. In the areas under their control, including district towns, Maoists levy a tax on small enterprises like spinning mills, beedi units, rice and flour mills, kirana, medical, cigarette, liquor shops and private doctors. All illegal operators, including private schools operating in villages and district towns, are coerced to pay.

On the expenditure side, police sources reveal, the Maoists spent over Rs175 crore in 2007 for purchasing weapons, including AK-47, landmines, rocket launchers, vehicles, uniforms and medicines.

According to the police, an Australian arms dealer has struck a deal with Maoists to supply via Malaysia-West Bengal drug route, a record 200 AK-47s by the end of 2008, they say. They have also acquired motor cycles with special tyres to make travel easier in dense forests and tough terrain.

Publicity and propaganda is another major head on which the Maoists spend considerably, according to the seized literature. Besides maintaining web sites, publishing party magazines Awam-e-jung (Hindi) and the CPI Maoists (English), they also operate a low frequency radio in the jungles to campaign against police and the administration.

The CPI (Maoist) also spent huge sums on communication equipment with mobile and satellite phones being the common issue. Very recently, Raipur police raided an urban Maoist network centre and seized account books for collection of Rs5 crore. The raid had also yielded receipts for purchase of uniforms for nearly six battalions supplied by a Mumbai-based textile unit.

CPI (Maoists) was born in September 2004 with the merger of Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) of Bihar and the Communist Party of India (ML) also called the Peoples War Group (PWG) of Andhra Pradesh. The group, based predominantly on the Maoists Leninist (ML) ideology, has operations in 12 states and has a mission to form a Red Corridor from Dandakaranya (AP-Chhattisgarh-Jharkhand) to Nepal.

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