Chhattisgarh Police on Thursday said that two Maoists were killed, and another was captured after he sustained injuries in an encounter with police in the Kuakonda area of Dantewada district, not far from where BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four others were killed in a Maoist attack on April 9.
The police said that one of those killed, identified as Varghese, is a senior cadre of the Malangir Area Committee and carried a reward of 5 lakh. He was also likely to be involved in the killing of Mandavi and his security men.
It was the Malangir Area Committee of the Maoists that had issued a press note and claimed responsibility for the attack.
Senior police officials said that a team of the Dantewada District Reserve Guard team acted on specific intelligence input of a group of armed cadre being present at the Daulikarka jungles of Kuakonda late last night. "A team left last night and had cordoned off the area where the Maoists were present. The team was led by Varghese who is an area committee member as well as the Malangir Area Committee Student Wing in charge. Given that is also an IED specialist for the Maoists, we believe they had plans to plant another IED," said P Sundar Raj, DIG, Anti Naxal Operations.
Senior police officials said that a firefight broke out at first light. "The firing must have lasted for around half an hour. After it ended, search operations revealed two Maoist dead bodies of Varghese and Linga who was active as LOS (local organisation squad) member in the Katekalyan Area Committee of Maoists. Another Maoist cadre, Dasru was found injured at the spot and is being treated at the Dantewada hospital. One 315 bore rifle, one muzzleloading rifle, explosives, and other camping materials have been recovered from the spot," Sundar Raj said.
Asked if Varghese was involved in the attack on BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi, senior police officials said that while in such cases it was difficult to tell for sure, it was likely that this was the case. "He is from the same area committee that carried out the blast and is also their IED expert. Preliminary investigations indicate that he will have been involved," Sundar Raj said.
Police officials added that the injured Maoist Dasru who is being treated will also be questioned in the future, and more details will emerge.