THE Maharashtra Police has claimed that four Naxals who surrendered last month in Gadchiroli have identified the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) members recently booked by its Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) as active operatives of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).
Ravindra Kadam,Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police,Gadchiroli Range,told The Indian Express: Four Naxalites who had surrendered before us have identified KKM members,including Sheetal Sathe and Sachin Mali,as Maoist operatives. They have named the KKM members in their statements showing their association with CPI-Maoists. We would be deciding further course of action against the KKM members named by surrendered Naxals.
Kadam confirmed that information had been shared with the ATS.
It may be recalled that Sheetal and Sachin were arrested by the ATS after they surrendered on April 2,2013. The couple had claimed that they did not have any links with Naxals and had been booked by the ATS for singing protest songs against the government.
The ATS,however,claims that the KKM members were not booked for protest songs,but for their active association with the operatives of banned CPI-Maoist. ATS is collecting evidence about the couples Naxal links.
Investigators said four surrendered Naxals were shown several photographs,including those of KKM members booked by the ATS following the arrest of CPI-Maoist leader Angela Sontakke from Thane in April 2011.
They reportedly identified Sheetal Sathe as Janaki and her husband Sachin Mali as Samar from the photographs. The investigators said Maoists gave code names to KKM members,adding that while Sheetal was called Janaki,Vandana and Shabnam,Sachin was called Samar and Shiva.
Between November 2011 and April 2012,the surrendered Naxals reportedly told the investigators,seven persons including Sheetal and Sachin were seen in the Naxal belt of north Gadchiroli and Gondia and were introduced as members of the West Area Committee of CPI-Maoists by party secretary Milind alias Deepak Teltumbde,who is Angelas husband.
Sheetal,Sachin and four other KKM artistes were on the run during this period as the ATS had booked them for alleged Naxal links. The investigators claimed that as per statements of the four surrendered Naxals,these absconding KKM artistes allegedly attended a meeting of CPI- Maoists at Darekasa in Gondia district where they sung and taught revolutionary songs to cadres.
The Bombay High Court had granted bail to six suspects Siddhartha Bhosale,Sushma Ramteke,Jenny,Krutika,Jyoti Chorge and Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) poet Dhawale Dhengle,who were arrested along with Angela,under relevant Sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly spreading Naxal ideology of armed struggle against the government.
While Sachin is in the custody of ATS,a pregnant Sheetal was remanded in judicial custody. Six more persons,including Milind,four KKM members Ramesh Gaychor,Sagar Gorkhe,Prashant Kamble,Santosh Shelar,all from Pune,and one Jyothi,are still absconding in this case.
The surrendered Naxals are also learnt to have identified Ramesh Gaychor as Satyajit,among others,from the photographs shown to them.