Following the discovery of three skulls earlier this week, police teams from UP and MP have started combing operations in the forest area on both sides of the border in Bundelkhand. The skulls, suspected to be of those kidnapped by dacoits from the Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border last week, have been recovered from the jungles of Bharat Koop in Chitrakoot. Police said the three, whose skulls were recovered on Tuesday morning, were kidnapped from the Nayagaon area of MP’s Satna district.
The family members of three deceased have alleged that they were abducted and killed by the gang of dacoit Lalit Patel, who carries a reward of Rs 30,000 on his head from the MP Police.
Chitrakoot SP Pratap Gopendra Yadav said: “Police teams from Chitrakoot and Banda districts have begun a combing operation in the whole forest area in UP. The MP Police is also combing the forest on their side of the border. This is a tough terrain and gang members use the dense forest to come from one side to another to avoid action.”
“The gang of dacoit Thokia was also active in the same terrain. We are combing the areas either based on inputs or where we suspect they could be hiding,” he added. Ambika Patel alias Thokia was gunned down by the UP STF in 2008.
“The gang has not been involved in any case in UP, except an encounter with the police in the same region last week. But they sometimes come to the adjoining forest area in UP, known as Kolhua Forest, to avoid police action in Madhya Pradesh,” said a police officer.
“The area is surrounded by forest and hills. Villagers are not forthcoming with information to the police,” said another police officer.
Meanwhile, the skulls recovered from the forest have been sent for postmortem examination and DNA testing. “We have only recovered skulls of the three persons. As the case of kidnapping has been registered in MP, we will provide information whenever they ask for it,” said the SP.