Nearly a week after seven workers were allegedly abducted by Maoists from Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) bridge construction site on Bihar-Jharkhand border, there is no trace of the workers. Both states' police had launched a joint search operation on Monday with the help of four teams of paramilitary forces of Jharkhand Jaguar in Deoghar, Dumka in Jharkhand and Jamui, Banka districts in Bihar.

Districts officials from Deoghar in Jharkhand and Jamui district in Bihar said based on intelligence gathered so far, they suspected the East Bihar North Jharkhand Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoists) had abducted the workers to demand levy from KK Builders, a Jamshedpur-based contractor at the site. No demand has been made by any group in exchange for the workers’ release.

“Our operations are on with the help of 130-140 Jharkhand Jaguar personnel. All evidence we have so far points to it being done by Maoists for asking levy from the contractor,” said Deoghar's Superintendent of Police Prabhat Kumar.

A group of armed men in plainclothes had reached the construction site of a bridge being built over Dhadhwa river under PMGSY in early the hours of Monday. There were 22 workers at the site. They were reported to have taken a site supervisor, two guards, a driver, and three labourers after enquiring about the work they had been assigned at the site. The site lies 30 km from Jamui district in Bihar, a Maoist stronghold. Three of the workers are from Deoghar in Jharkhand, one from Latehar in west Jharkhand and one from West Bengal.

Vikas Singh the owner of KK Builders had said his staff had reported that workers were threatened, beaten up, and the armed men had taken a motorcycle, Rs 7000 cash, and 12 mobile phones with them before they left the site with the workers. He denied receiving any demands for levy and no pamphlets were recovered from the site.

“Based on our intelligence, we suspect that this has been carried out by Pintu Rana, a zonal commander of the East Bihar North Jharkhand Zonal Committee. We are hopeful of tracing the workers' soon,” said Jitendra Rana, Superintendent of Police Jamui, Bihar.

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