The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) told the Bombay High Court on Thursday that they want to conduct the DNA test of alleged Maoist leader K Muralidharan (61) alias Thomas Joseph Alias Ajith, who was arrested, along with his aide Ismail Hamaza Chiragpilli (29) alias James Mathew, from Talegaon Dabhade on May 8. ATS had also launched a search for Sanjay Deepak Rao (51), who helped Ajith and Ismail settle down in Maharashtra. Named as wanted accused in this case, Sanjay Rao is suspected to be the same man who was earlier arrested in three cases in Nandurbar on charges of sedition.
A native of Ernakulam in Kerala and son of a former diplomat, Murlidharan was the national secretary of the banned Communist Party of India – CPI (ML) Naxalbari, which merged with the banned CPI (Maoist) on May 1, 2014. The ATS team led by assistant commissioner Sanjay Khare produced Ajith and Ismail before the court on Thursday.
ATS believes that Muralidharan, the mastermind behind various Maoist attacks in the country, operated with several fake names, so his DNA test needed to be conducted and matched with his family members to confirm his identity.
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ATS recovered a laptop, seven cellphones, five SIM cards, two internet dongles, Maoist literature, fake PAN card, fake Aadhaar card, fake railway pass and other items from the possession of the suspects. Probe revealed that suspects used 10 cell phones and sim cards, of which five were issued in Maharashtra.
Investigators said Muralidharan had written secret emails to Maoist leaders regarding attacks and other purposes. ATS said the custody of the suspects was needed to probe this information. Defence counsel Rahul Deshmukh argued that DNA test could be conducted in judicial custody too. But the court then extended their custody till May 25.
Investigators said Muralidharan underwent a heart surgery a couple of years ago. Then, after interactions with Kuppuswamy, in-charge of the Maoist operations in Western Ghats, he shifted to Maharashtra with the help of Sanjay Rao. “The Kerala state committee of the Maoists sent Ismail to help Muralidharan write, translate and for other party work. They were funded by the Maoist party. Muralidharan often visited hospitals in Maharashtra and Kerala for medical check-ups with fake names. Having studied in Denmark, China and Kerala before joining Maoists, Muralidharan has written various documents for the left-wing extremists. His latest is a booklet, Land Caste Bondage, which the Maoists wanted to print,” police said.