Six people,including a self-styled commander of the disbanded Ranbir Sena,were killed and two others grievously injured in a landmine blast at Khudwa under Obra block of Aurangabad Thursday evening.
Police said the incident took place around 5.30 pm when Sushil Pandey,the self-styled commander of disbanded upper caste army,and seven others were returning to their Pishay village from block town of Obra. As the vehicle carrying Sushil,who faced several criminal cases and was out on bail,and others approached Pathra bridge near the village,the landmine exploded,killing the six on the spot.
Others killed were identified as Yogendra Pandey,a muscleman who also faced several cases,Manish Pandey,Ramballabh Upadhyay,Rampravesh Pandey and Pappu Pandey all residents of Pishay village.
Dawood Nagar sub-divisional police officer Anwar Javed confirmed the incident and said the police team had been facing resistance from public after the incident. The condition of two injured,who have been admitted to the hospital,is said to be critical.
Sushil Pandey had continued to work under the banner of Ranbir Sena even after the upper caste army was disbanded.
When Ranbir Sena chief Barmeshwar Mukhiya,who was killed in June 2012,disowned Sushil Pandey,he continued to use Ranbir Senas name to terrorise people of Khudwa and Obra,heavily-infested Naxal areas.
He had several cases against him,including that of murder and extortion.
Sources said Sushil Pandey had long history of enmity with the CPI (Maoist). He had enmity with then MCC sympathiser Ramchander Prasad of Chanda village and Rajkumar Thakur of Panchahara village.
Prasad and Thakur were killed a few years ago. Sushil Pandey was also allegedly involved in the killing of Ramchanders wife Chinta Devi in 2006 on the day of counting of panchayat election. Devi had won the election.
A senior police officer said Sushil Pandey had long been engaged in battle of area dominance with Maoists. Pandey enjoyed upper hand over ultras for a long time by using the Ranbir Sena banner. But with increased Naxal influence,his influence had been dwindling but he still enjoyed clout in Khudwa area and had been in conflict with the Maoists, said a senior police officer.
Aurangabad district magistrate Abhijit Sinha said the police would be able to get lead in the incident only after public resistance subsides.
Pandeys supporters had been resisting police presence in the area demanding immediate combing operation against ultras.