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Intellectuals itchy as Mahato spills beans on Maoist funding

Intellectuals itchy as Mahato spills beans on Maoist funding

Author: Saugar Sengupta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 3, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/206499/Intellectuals-itchy-as-Mahato-spills-beans-on-Maoist-funding.html

Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) who was arrested recently, has disclosed many secrets on his links with the Maoists and their sources of funding to the police.

Mahato also gave out certain names that were operating in the urban areas besides keeping the communication lines open with the State's intelligentsia, top police officials claimed, adding, "Many more surprising details could come out in a couple of days".

The PCPA chief, who was arrested last Saturday by CID sleuths in the guise of journalists triggering a series of protests from all quarters, was on Friday brought to Kolkata amid tight security and would be subjected to a round-the-clock grilling.

Meanwhile, Swajan, a platform of the city intelligentsia that had vociferously been backing the PCPA demanding immediate release of the arrested leader, changed the tack and said the law would take its own course.

Top officials at the CID headquarters at Bhawani Bhavan on Friday referred to Mahato's modus operandi stating that he was in constant touch with the Maoists' top order and often acted on their advice.

The arrested leader had in the past one-and-half years raised several crores not only from West Bengal but from Orissa and Jharkhand. A major share of the money might have gone to purchase of weapons, officials said. Mahato, a Class XII dropout, has recently acquired properties in Mayurbhanj of Orissa.

This could also be a source of fear for the Kolkata intelligentsia. They feared that the money "they thought was a donation for a people's cause could well have been used for more serious offences."

Incidentally, what has made the task of the police easier is the simultaneous arrest of PCPA treasurer Sukhashanti, whose most statements corroborated with that of Mahato.

Officials said, "Chhatradhar and his men would raise anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 20 lakh from the people. His victims ranged from porters, school teachers to businessmen and contractors." Apart from this some "generous donations" came from the "knowledgeable people of Kolkata."

Lalgarh has for the past three-four months seen about 50 people being eliminated. Most of these men were farmers.

"Mahato has revealed startling information about the whole network of the extremists," State DGP Bhupinder Singh claimed. When reminded that the Kolkata intellectuals' claims that the police were forcibly extracting confessions from him, the top official said all the disclosures were supported by documentary evidence.

Meanwhile, a defensive consortium of intelligentsia led by painter Jogen Chowdhury, actor Kaushik Sen, theater personality Shaoli Mitra, writer Suchitra Bhattacharya ate words on Mahato stating they were for the law taking its own course. But, "what we want to know is on what grounds Mahato has been arrested".

The celebrities also denied reports that they were in the know of how the funds they were contributing to the PCPA were being used. "We only believed that this was a genuine people's movement and the fund was being used for their cause," said Mitra, adding the Government could not shirk its responsibility on the lack of development in the tribal districts of the State.


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