Maoists take drug route for money

Kolkata: To raise additional funds to sponsor acts of insurgency, Maoist guerrillas in eastern India are smuggling narcotics.

The ultra-red guerrillas are picking up marijuana and hashish cultivated in Manipur and channelling it via West Bengal to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh, where there is a high demand for the banned substances, VS Rao, additional director general, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), said.

“The West Bengal districts being used as transit points for the smuggling are Nadia, Dakshin Dinajpur and Murshidabad,” he said.

Since all these districts border Bangladesh, the possibility of smuggling narcotics from the neighbouring country also cannot be ruled out.

Recently, the intelligence bureau and the intelligence branch of West Bengal Police alerted DRI on the heavy use of West Bengal by Maoists for narcotics smuggling from Manipur.

Accordingly, DRI increased surveillance in these corridors and seized around 60 kg of narcotics from the three districts.

“All the consignments we seized had come from Manipur and were destined for Bihar and UP. A UP-bound consignment of heroin worth around Rs10 crore was also seized,” Rao said.

Meanwhile, sources in the West Bengal intelligence branch told DNA that Maoists had established a multi-channel nexus to transport narcotics from Manipur to West Bengal and from there to different eastern and northeastern states.

“In the first phase of the journey [of narcotics] from north east to West Bengal, the principal medium of transportation is oil tankers.

Narcotics packed in oil- and water-proof packets are hidden in the belly of oil tankers and unloaded at specific points,” an intelligence branch officer said.

In the second phase, which is from West Bengal to eastern and northeastern states, Maoists generally rely on the railways.