Patna : A top 'commander' of Bihar's banned private militia Ranvir Sena, charged with killing dozens of members of the lower caste in Bihar, has been arrested, police said Saturday.
Neelindi Singh, a zonal commander of the Sena, was on Bihar's most wanted list and carried a prize money of Rs.50,000.
The 27-year-old is considered to be the second in command of the Ranvir Sena – a private militia of upper caste landlords in Bihar led by Brahmeshwar Singh, who is currently in jail.
Brahmeshwar Singh was arrested in 2002 and is believed to have masterminded the killings of at least 300 Dalits and backward caste people since the group was formed in 1994.
According to the police, Neelindi had been evading arrest for his involvement in nearly two dozen criminal cases, including several massacres carried out by the Ranvir Sena.
Neelindi was arrested from a village in Rohtas district, about 150 km from here, a police official said. During interrogations, he said he joined the outfit at the age of 14. Neelindi is a resident of Bhojpur district.
Earlier the police had arrested Awadh Sharma, an area commander of Ranvir Sena, accused of killing 12 people in an armed attack on Zahirbigha and Khagribigha hamlets of Sandani village in Gaya district in 1999. This was followed by the arrest of Ambuj Sharma, a prime accused in the 2000 carnage in Miyanpur in Aurangabad district.
Last year, the Patna High Court directed a commission probing the alleged political links of the Ranvir Sena to submit its report within 15 days. The commission, headed by Justice Amir Das, was set up in 1997.
The court order came while hearing a petition demanding that the findings of the commission be made public.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who came to power in November 2005, had wound up the commission earlier this year – a move that raised many eyebrows.
Over the years, the commission had summoned 40 politicians, including many from the now ruling combine of Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and former BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi were among the 450 witnesses that deposed before the commission.