Chhattisgarh police detains two policemen for alleged involvement in supplying ammunition...

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Raipur: Chhattisgarh police detained an assistant sub-inspector and a head constable in Sukma district on Monday for alleged involvement in supplying ammunition to Maoist rebels in Bastar region.

Senior police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were looking into the possible involvement of some more policemen in the matter as part of an ongoing investigation.

People familiar with developments said the two detained policemen were allegedly involved in supplying ammunition to the rebels with the help of middlemen.

“They were doing some forgery in the record-keeping of the stock of cartridges and then supplying them to the Maoists,” said a senior police officer.

Director general of police DM Awasthi confirmed that two people had been detained.

“We were following this gang for a long time and some more people are on the scanner. Interrogation of the two policemen is going on in Sukma district,” Awasthi said.

Police in Sukma had earlier arrested four people who were involved in this racket and more arrests will follow, he said.

On June 4, two people were arrested in Sukma, and two more were arrested in Kanker on Sunday. Police recovered ammunition for SLRs, INSAS rifles, AK-47 assault rifles and 303 rifles from them.

“We were following the gang for the last 45 days. We got information on June 4 that two middlemen - Manoj Sharma and Shankar – had been arrested and told us that two persons from Kanker district, Atmaram Nerti and Genesh Kunjam, were supplying the ammunition. We arrested them in Kanker on Sunday,” said a police officer from Sukma who declined to be named.

The people cited above said the alleged middlemen had supplied ammunition, police uniforms and caps to the Maoists in the past too.

“The secretary of the Pratapur Area Committee of CPI-Maoist group in Kanker district, Darshan Padda, was directly in contact with Nerti and Kunjam and they used middlemen to send the ammunition to the Maoists in the jungles. The price for one bullet was Rs300 to Rs500 and they would get a commission on each consignment ,” said an official.

When police accessed the call records of the mobile phones Nerti and Kunja, they uncovered their alleged links with the assistant sub-inspector and the constable and began questioning them on Monday, the official said.

“We are working on this nexus and we are expecting something big will come out. We working on many angles,” said Sukma’s superintendent of police Shalabh Sinha.

In Bastar, police are lenient in maintaining records of bullets used by police personnel because it is very difficult to bring back spent cartridges from jungles after gun battles.

“During the anti-Naxal drive, the police personnel are not told to bring back cartridges after firing and this sometimes helps them to hide some bullets. Earlier also, there were complaints that policemen were supplying bullets due to which we had made the rules strict. Now, after every anti-Naxal operation, each and every policeman is thoroughly checked after they reach their camps. But this is a different case, the person involved was the stockkeeper of cartridges,” said an IPS officer posted in a Maoist-affected district.

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