Maoist mastermind behind Laxmanananda killing arrested

Police on Monday claimed they have arrested a top Maoist rebel who masterminded the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.....

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published:March 3, 2009 2:29 am

Police on Monday claimed they have arrested a top Maoist rebel who masterminded the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati,which led to anti-Christian riots in the state last year. They added that the rebel was also responsible for attacks on policemen in six states and was the biggest catch in the past two years.

Rourkela Superintendent of Police Santosh Bala said 39-year-old Motilal Soreng alias Asutosh Tudu alias Ashok was arrested when he was returning to Jharkhand with another Maoist in a hired vehicle after meeting cadres in the Saranda forests of Jharkhand. “We were tipped off about his movement. He was arrested under the Brahmanitarang police station area of Rourkela,” she said.

Soreng is one of the 21 members of the CPI(Maoist) central committee. The police said interrogations revealed that he was involved in the conspiracy to murder the 82-year-old Saraswati. “He played a key role in the Swami’s murder,” said Bala.

The VHP leader was gunned down along with four others at his ashram in Jalespeta area of Kandhamal district on August 23 last year. His killing led to the widespread riots in Kandhamal,in which at least 38 people were killed,hundreds were rendered homeless and dozens of churches were burnt.

The police said Soreng,who is also a member of the rebels’ Central Military Commission,planned the February 2008 Naxal attack on the police armoury at Nayagarh district among other attacks.

Inspector General of Police (Anti-Maoist operations) Sudhanshu Sarangi said Soreng alone was involved in the killing of over 200 policemen in six states — Jharkhand,Orissa,Andhra Pradesh,Chhattisgarh,West Bengal and Bihar.

It is suspected that he was also involved in the murder of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi’s son Anup Marandi in October 2007. Anup and 14 others were shot by a group of Maoists in a village in Jharkhand’s Giridih district when they were watching a cultural programme.

“He is the man who plans the Maoist attacks. He is one of the topmost Maoist leaders of the country and the biggest catch for police in India last couple of years,” claimed Sarangi.

There are around 20 cases lodged against Soreng in Orissa. The total number of cases can run into a few dozen more once the police in other Maoist-affected states reveal his involvement in other cases.

Along with Soreng,police arrested Atul Yadav,a Maoist cadre from Gaya district of Bihar. Yadav was allegedly involved in the murder of a local BJP leader in Daringbadi,Kandhamal district,and the massacre of 16 villagers at Dewari in Giridih district of Jharkhand in September 2008.

He also played a role in the murder of Jharkhand JD (U) MLA Ramesh Singh Munda in June 2008.

Police have moved the court to get the Maoists on remand for further interrogation.

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