Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pramod: Robin Hood to red goon

Dhanbad/Bokaro, May 13: The arrest of Pramod Mishra may have ended the police-rebel chase spanning over more than three decades, but his audacious antecedents have just begun to unravel.

Talking to The Telegraph today, Dhanbad deputy inspector-general of police Anurag Gupta, who interrogated Pramod, conceded that police were receiving “vital” clues to the leader’s life and to rebel workings, but the DIG refused to divulge further.

Though mum about the probe details, he was eloquent in his praise of the intelligence officers who made the arrest possible.

Pramod committed his first murder in the 70’s,when he shot an Aurangabad (Bihar) mukhiya (headman) and caught the attention of the red brigade
Impressed by his “style”, Pramod was handed over the responsibility of districts in central Bihar (Gaya, Aurangabad and Koderma) at the beginning, where he was the rebel-cum-Robin Hood protesting the feudal system and the sufferings of the poor.

Soon, the medium-built, bearded and safari suit-loving young man went on to lead many armed attacks in Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

The arrests of leaders Nathuni Mistri, Duryodhan alias Mithilesh Singh and M. Manjhi pushed Pramod further towards the top-rung in Jharkhand and Orissa.

More power followed as Chhattisgarh, Uttrakhand, Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, too, came under his control.

Thus, it comes as no surprise when Bihar’s inspector-general (operation) S.K. Bharadwaj calls the May 11 arrest as the “biggest catch” for security forces. He adds that a “superb intelligence networking” and “alertness of intelligence bureau sleuths” were responsible for the arrest.

Pramod, along with leader Ram Pravesh Baitha (also in judicial custody), was instrumental in organising bloody battles in northern Bihar, including border districts touching Nepal.

The red leader enjoyed links with Nepal Maoists — a nexus that the police now have evidence of after the leader’s arrest.

The police have also recovered documents that might help them crack the nexus between politicians, contractors and Naxalites and get clue regarding the source of Pramod’s crore-worth property.

Somewhere along the line, Pramod, the Robin Hood and champion of the poor, amassed, according to police estimation, crores of property in Patna, Ranchi, Gaya, Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Dehradun, Delhi and Calcutta.

His son, Sudhir, whose “kidnapping” led the 50- year-old’s arrest, also owns property in several Indian cities. Sudhir (27), like his father, is a rebel cadre assigned to spread the rebel brigade across Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Pramod’s diary may also prove to be invaluable for the police as they contain clues, names of donors, including politicians, businessmen and contractors, who are in the regular pay list and have used the red brigade during polls and project time.

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