'Criminals posing as Maoists to extort money'



Ranchi: Criminals have been extorting money from businessmen and companies in Jharkhand posing as Maoists, a police official said Wednesday.

"In the past six months, some cases have come to our notice where criminals tried to extort money posing as Maoists," Inspector General of Police (operations) SN Pradhan said.

Pradhan cited a recent case from Pakur district, over 350 km from here, where a criminal gang demanded money from the transporters of the Panem coal mines on behalf of Maoists. "The criminals have been identified," he added.

To deal with such cases, police will soon advertise toll free numbers, Pradhan said.

"We will keep the identity of the caller secret. Our aim is to remove fear among people. The information given by them will help us in identifying the perpetrators of such extortion calls."

Pradhan appealed to people to immediately inform police on getting extortion calls.

"Not all extortion calls come from Maoists. Even if a call is found to be made by them, police will take stern action against them. Identity of informants will be kept secret," he said.

Maoist guerrillas, who are active in 18 of the 24 districts of Jharkhand, are believed to generate around Rs.300 crore per annum from extortion and illegal tax collection in the state.

IANS