Vikash Sharma

The Rourkela Police on Monday arresting three criminals who were running a major extortion racket at the behest of a hard core PLFI member operating from across border in Jharkhand. The gang mostly targeted industrialists and other businessmen in the Civil Township area in Rourkela and other parts of the Steel City.

The Peoples' Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter group of the Communist party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) operating in Jharkhand. In fact, the Jharkhand police had in the past launched multiple operations against them in several districts.

Police said three 7mm pistols and around 55 rounds of ammunition including few of SLR automatic weapons and some improvised explosives were recovered from the criminals. The accused have been identified as Banti alias Basista Mohanty, Jangyasi Swain alias Rony and Amit Kumar Sahoo.

While addressing a presser, Rourkela SP, Mukesh Bhamoo said that around 6-7 cases had been registered against Banti who confessed to have been working for PLFI member Arjun Rana.

All the three accused were working on the instruction of Rana who mostly operates from Jharkhand. He used to hire criminals to run his extortion and other organised crime syndicate in Rourkela.

“Most of these criminals work in small groups. Each of them have specific roles. While some would conduct recee, the others would threaten businessman by firing or hurling bombs to extort money,” said Bhamoo.

The senior police official said that the criminals used to smuggle Ganja to Jharkhand from Odisha. Similarly, they used to procure firearms from the neighbouring state.

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