In a major boost to police, a sessions court in Koraput district on Tuesday sentenced hardcore Maoist commander Chenda Bhusanam alias Ghasi alias Katru to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 35000 for keeping firearms and attacking police personnel on duty.
Koraput additional district judge Pradip Kumar Mahanta convicted the Maoist leader under Section 27 of Arms Act, Section 17 Criminal Law Amendment Act and section 20 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. This is the first such conviction of a top Maoist in last 5-6 years, police officials said.
Ghasi, hailing from Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, was one of the top commanders of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) till his arrest in April 2011. He had a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head announced by Andhra Pradesh police. Involved in almost all the major operations in Orissa and Andhra, in Vishakhapatnam district alone, he has 63 cases against him between 1991 and 1996.
In Orissa, he was involved in Alampanka incident in Balimela reservoir in which 38 Gryehounds sunk to death in June 2008. He was also involved in the MPV blast case in Kalimela in which 17 policemen were killed.
Now lodged in Koraput jail, Ghasi’s strengths lay in ambushing police parties, setting landmine blasts and shooting down informers or policemen people from his pistol or rifle without losing cool. He allegedly used to extort Rs 10 to 20 lakh a month from local traders, contractors, corporate houses and politicians.
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In January last year, Ghasi was acquitted due to want of evidence in the killing of Budi Biswanath Patra and Hari Sahukar of Katulpeta village in Bandhugaon block of Koraput.
Ghasi is still accused in a dozen more Maoist-related cases in Orissa.