THE Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is likely to file a chargesheet against alleged Naxal ideologue K Muralidharan, has included the statements of suspected ‘sympathisers’ who were persuaded by Muralidharan to join the Naxal stir. The counter-terrorism agency is likely to file a chargesheet against Muralidharan in the coming week under certain sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code( IPC).
In May, the ATS arrested top Maoist leader K Muralidharan alias Thomas Joseph alias Skaria alias Gopi alias Raghavan alias Ajith (62) and his aide Ismail Hamaza Chiragpilli alias Pravin alias James Mathew (29) from Talegaon Dabhade area, about 30 kms from Pune. In May 2014, Muralidharan, the national secretary of CPI(ML) Naxalbari, had merged his party with the CPI(Maoist) and was made the central committee member.
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After becoming a central committee member, Muralidharan was assigned the task to strengthen the outfit’s base in Pune and was therefore camping in Talegaon to scout for new members, the ATS claims. To assert this claim, the agency has included the statements of over a dozen people from Pune, mainly comprising college students and businessmen.
Sources claim that in 2014, these people, who are now witnesses, were approached by Muralidharan to join the outfit.
“With the help of the absconding accused, Sanjay Deepak Rao (51), who allegedly provided logistic support, Muralidharan set up his base in Talegaon. He was able to approach a few and was in the process of ‘brainwashing’ them,” a senior official said. “The witnesses have narrated the accounts in which they were persuaded to join,” added the officer.
“A base in Pune was a part of the larger plan to expand their activities in the Western Ghats,” the official added.
The police claim that other than the statements, they have recovered alleged ‘Naxal literature’, mostly in Marathi, English and Malayalam, and fake adhaar and PAN cards from the Talegaon safe house.
In its chargesheet, the ATS will mention the new hideouts of the outfit, especially those in the central forest. It will also throw light on the meetings between Muralidharan and alleged top Naxal leader Muppalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy. “Muralidharan has shared details of the treacherous travel he had to undertake to meet the man on whom there is a bounty of Rs 2.5 crore. Ganapathy, the general secretary of the CPI(Maoist) touted as the topmost Naxal leader in the country,” said an officer.
Sources say Muralidharan has told investigators that the process of meeting Ganapathy would commence with a human courier suddenly landing up at his doorstep and passing on the message to get on to a train to a particular state and meet another courier at a certain place.
The human courier and Muralidharan would board a state-run bus and alight in an interior village. Soon, the courier would blindfold him and they would walk straight for two days. After his blindfolds would come off, Muralidharan could only see tall trees on all sides. He would then undertake another two-day journey though the forest to finally reach a ‘safe house’ where Ganapathy would meet him.
“Other than the elaborate travels, the only detail he has shared are the names of the states such as Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka where he has travelled to meet him,” said the officer.