Five top Maoist leaders arrested in West Bengal (Roundup)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

KOLKATA - In a major breakthrough, seven members of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), including five top leaders, were arrested in West Bengal over the past two days, police said.

Three top leaders and a Maoist supporter were nabbed from Maidan area in the heart of Kolkata, and another state committee member was picked up from Howrah railway station. The police said two more Maoists, including a commandant, were arrested from West Midnapore district over the last two days.

“Sudip Chongdar (CPI-Maoist state secretary) and his close associates and state committee members Anal Ghosh alias Ajoyda and Burun Sur alias Bidyut, and another supporter Bimal Ghosh alias Shankar were arrested on Friday night from Maidan area,” Kolkata Police’s additional commissioner-II and STF chief Rajeev Kumar said.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition, including foreign made improvised rocket launchers and state-of-the-art communication devices, was also seized, he said.

Another state committee member Anu alias Kalpana Maity - who is the wife of Ashim Mondal alias Akash (one of the prominent Maoist leaders) - was arrested from Howrah railway station Saturday noon, Kumar told the reporters at city police headquarters at Lal Bazar.

The five Maoist leaders were presented before a sessions court under tight security Saturday evening and remanded in 10 days’ police custody.

“We had specific inputs that Kanchan and three others had assembled in the Maidan area. We conducted a raid and arrested them. Later, we laid a trap and arrested Anu from Howrah,” said Kumar.

“We have already conducted raids in five-six places in the city and its adjacent districts. A huge quantity of arms, ammunition, improvised explosive devices, sophisticated communication equipment, books and cash were recovered from one of their hideouts. Arms and ammunition are also being recovered from other places,” said Kumar, adding that the crackdown was a major achievement for the security forces.

“We will seek sanction from the state government so that they can be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as also for sedition and the arms act,” he said.

A senior police officer said: “We are yet to interrogate them. But we suspect that they assembled here to receive the huge cache of arms and ammunition from their suppliers and were planning to sent those in Junglemahal (Maoist dominated forested areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura) through their couriers.”

Sudip Chongdar, more popularly known as Kanchan alias Batas, was wanted in several cases of sedition and sabotage. He was also one of the prime accused in the landmine blast allegedly triggered by the Maoists on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy at Salboni Nov 2, 2008.

Kanchan took over as CPI-Maoist secretary after his predecessor Soumen alias Himadri Sen Roy was arrested in 2008. He became a familiar name as most of the Maoist media releases were issued in his name.

Condemning Kanchan’s arrest, pro-Maoist civil rights group Bandi Mukti Committee official Choton Das demanded the “immediate release of the political leader”.

Two Maoists were also arrested in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, police said Saturday.

“Asit Shit, commandant of CPI-Maoist’s Jamboni squad, was arrested Saturday morning from a bus stand in Jhargram,” superintendent of police Praveen Tripathi said.

“He was involved in several murder cases, including killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (Naren) leader Soumen Bhagat in May and abduction of three agents of an insurance company from Chichigra in Jhargarm,” said Tripathi.

Asit was presented before a Jhargram court and remanded in five days’ police custody, he said.

Another Maoist cadre Kajol Mahato was arrested from Pathar Kumkumi village in Salboni area of the district late Friday. He was involved in the gun battle between the joint forces and the rebels in Pidrakuli area Nov 2.

“He was presented before the Midnapore district court and remanded in four days’ police custody,” a senior police officer said.

Maoists are active in three western districts of the state - West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.

Filed under: Terrorism

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