Retired IPS officer Rajesh Pandey, founding member of UP ATS, told TOI on Friday, “We coordinated with the STF after there were inputs that empty cartridges were recovered from the spot of the Dantewada (in Chhattisgarh) attack on CRPF jawans. Officials had supplied arms and ammunition to those who then sent them to Maoists.” They had links with Maoists who killed 76 CRPF jawans in Dantewada in April 2010, added an ex-STF official, who was part of the probe team. It is considered one of the deadliest attacks on Indian security personnel.
ADGC (additional district government counsel) Pratap Singh Maurya said, “Investigating officer (SI) Amod Kumar, in his report, stated that after the Dantewada incident, STF Lucknow received inputs that some arms and ammunition from Rampur were being supplied by a person from Prayagraj. An STF team was soon formed.”
He added: “On April 29, three men – Yashodanandan Singh, Vinod Paswan and Vinesh Singh – were arrested. One of them, Yashodanandan, was carrying a bag with Rs 1.75 lakh in cash, 600 live cartridges of 38 bore, 500 (9mm) live cartridges, 600 cartridges of Insas rifle and three magazines of AK-47 rifle while Vinod and Vinesh were carrying cash and arms in bags. They were posted at Rampur’s CRPF group centre. After interrogation, the STF managed to nab the other accused which included officers involved in arms supply.”
Senior prosecuting officer Shiv Prakash Pandey, who was monitoring the prosecuting team, said, “The order was pronounced by the Rampur court-II of judge Vijay Kumar.”
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The court said, “CRPF is a reserve military force (formed) to combat internal disturbances and maintain law and order and counter insurgency. Two officials, namely Vinesh and Vinod, who belonged to this reserved force, in conspiracy with police officials who were armourers posted in police stations of different districts of UP, committed organised crime jeopardising the country’s national security. Four civilians were involved in this nexus. And all the 24 convicts committed this organised crime only to make profit.”
Twenty-five people were chargesheeted by the STF and the case was listed for trial in 2011. All the accused, who were convicted under IPC sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 413 (habitually dealing in stolen property) and arrested in the months of April and May 2010, got bail. Yashodanandan died during the trial. Vinod and Vinesh were also convicted under section 7/25 of the Arms Act.
Following raids, 5,000 live cartridges, 245 kg of empty shells, 16 magazines of Insas rifles, .25 bore guns, SLR and AK-47s were recovered, the court order added.