Investigation following the arrest of the artistes of Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) for their alleged Naxal links has revealed that Maoists regularly collected information about the trucks carrying explosives from the Army’s Khadki ammunition depot to Ahmednagar.
Justice A R Joshi of the Bombay High Court (HC) recently rejected the bail application of three KKM artistes Sachin Maruti Male, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor. The HC order dated April 11, 2014, makes specific mention of four witnesses — Jivan Ramsai Narote, Suraj alias Gulal Darshan, Anil alias Manoj Bapu and Vikrant alias Vikram — who are surrendered Naxals and have given statements that Sachin, Sheetal, Sagar and Ramesh had participated in arms training with over 100 others in the jungle areas of Gondia and Gadchiroli between November 2011 and April 2012, when they were on the run.
As per the HC order, Vikrant alias Vikram was asked to collect information about vehicles transporting explosives from the Army’s ammunition units. “In his (Vikrant’s) statement, he referred present applicants (Sachin, Sagar and Ramesh) and another co-accused regarding work allotted to him to collect information about trucks loaded with explosives passing from Khadki to Ahmednagar,” said the HC order.
According to sources in the investigating agencies, Vikrant is from Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. He surrendered in December 2012. As a student of ITI in 2003, he came in contact with an alleged “Naxal front” “Deshbhakta Yuva Manch”, through which he later joined CPI-Maoist.
His statement reveals that because he was a good driver the Maoists provided him a four-wheeler for transportation of gelatin sticks, detonators and ferrying top Naxal leader Deepak alias Milind Teltumbde. He also allegedly worked as a “courier” between the Naxal operatives in jungles and those in urban areas.
As per the statement, he was in Ahmednagar between 2010 and 2011. During this time, Teltumbde allegedly told him to collect information and study the routes of trucks loaded with explosives going to Ahmednagar from the ammunition factory in Khadki (Pune) and also from the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon in
Wardha district. Vikrant also revealed the alleged plan of Maoists to trap and loot vehicles carrying ammunition near Deori, on NH 6, in Gondia district.
A senior police officer said: “There have been incidents of Naxals looting explosives and ammunition before. On March 12, 2010, armed Naxals looted 16 tonnes of liquid explosives from a private tanker they had trapped by felling trees on a road in the jungle area around 25 km from Dhanora in Gadchiroli. The tanker was transporting explosives from Chandrapur MIDC to Chhattisgarh.”