NOIDA: A 25-year-old man wanted for murder, and his alleged involvement with Maoist leaders in Bihar and UP, was arrested in Noida’s Harolla village after managing to evade the lawkeepers for years, police said.
Sudhir Bhagat, who is from Dewaria Kothi in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, was wanted in 15 cases of murder, robbery, extortion, and under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) and Arms Acts, police said. He had also been named an accused in connection with a goods train blast in Bihar in 2014 and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head.
Sudhir, who has four brothers, came under Bihar Police’s scanner as early as 2007 when he fled home after allegedly assaulting a neighbour in a row over personal enmity, Noida SSP Ajay Pal Sharma said. An attempt to murder case was registered against Sudhir and his family. His elder brother and father were arrested.
Sources said Sudhir, who had fled to Noida and started living with his sister and her husband, wanted to take “revenge” on his neighbour for lodging the complaint that led to the arrest of his father and brother. In Noida, he had allegedly procured an Aadhaar card in the name of Aditya Kumar but used his original name to get himself enrolled in a BTech (mechanical) course in Divya Jyoti College and Engineering in Ghaziabad in 2012. After continuing for a year, he dropped out, police said.
Sudhir returned to his village in 2013 and allegedly killed the local panchayat chief, Manan Singh. According to police, it was then that he came across Anil Ram, who they claimed was a Maoist commander. Ram, police said, had a huge influence on Sudhir.
Shankar Jha, the deputy commissioner of police in Bihar’s Suraiya, said Sudhir was made the Maoist area commander in his home town and given the responsibility of training 35-40 members on the use of weapons such as AK-47s.
The same year, he allegedly killed the neighbour who had earlier lodged a police complaint against him and murdered Bhola Singh, a representative then Sahebganj MLA Raj Kumar Singh. A case was registered against him at Sahebganj police station.
The next year, he was accused of leading a few suspected Maoists to torch a goods train in Bihar.
Officers of Bihar Police said Sudhir and the alleged Maoist members under him had fixed the extortion rate for local businessmen and brick kiln owners and threatened to kill them if they did not pay up. They used the cash to strengthen their network in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and UP, the officers said.
Jha said his team had hunted Sudhir for several years and announced a Rs 50,000 reward each on Ram and Sudhir on March 5 this year. While Ram was arrested on March 18 along with his wife, Sudhir managed to flee. Information garnered from Ram led the cops to Sudhir.
“He had procured a fake Aadhaar card to disguise his identity. He had left his studies long back and had recently started working for a private company in the name of Loha Singh,” the Noida SSP said.
Police said they had recovered from Sudhir’s hideout a .32 bore pistol, five live cartridges, the fake Aadhaar card and his college ID. No Maoist literature was found in the house. Bihar Police will take Sudhir on transit remand for further questioning.
Sudhir’s sister Rekha said she had no idea about her brother’s alleged involvement in Maoist activities. “My family had some enemies. My brother must have been framed,” she said.