With the arrest of a top Maoist leader, the third such case in Pune, the police are probing if the city and its surrounding areas, home to considerable student population, cultural and industrial activities, have been a favourite destination for the left-wing extremists.
The two top Maoists arrested on Friday — Ajith and Ismail —were residing in plush Lotus Villa in New Anand Nagar, Talegaon Dabhade, located in the jurisdiction of Pune rural police. The two-storey building is new and comprises eight apartments. The alleged Maoists staying here for the last few months did not have much interaction with neighbours.
Investigation is now under way to find out what activities Ajith and Ismail were carrying out from this house.
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It may be recalled that Arun Bhelke and his wife Kanchan Nanaware, alleged operatives of Golden Corridor Committee of CPI Maoists who were arrested from Pune by the ATS, were residing in a small house in Kanhe Phata in Maval taluka, also under the jurisdiction of Pune rural police. However, before their arrest, the couple lived in different rural as well as urban areas of Thane, Raigad and Mumbai. They had managed to get PAN and Aadhar cards under different names. Arun was allegedly trying to indoctrinate youths from city slums. So, even though he lived at Kanhe Phata, he used to travel to cities frequently.
Similarly, Angelo Sontakke, the alleged secretary of the Golden Corridor Committee of CPI Maoists, who was arrested along with her aides by the Thane ATS, was operating from a small house in Paud, located in Pune rural. ATS had later arrested some artists of the Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch for alleged Maoist links.
Investigation agencies are looking into the possibility of whether the Maoists are finding it easy and safe to live in rural area and operate in urban belts. Intelligence agencies believe Maoists have plans to expand their activities in the Western Ghats and have already shown movement in the Western Ghat tri-junction of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.