With the arrest of K Muralidharan alias Ajith, an alleged central committee member of banned outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Anti-Terrorism Squad had thought the “prized catch” would lead it to Muppalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, one of the most wanted accused security agencies are after. But even Muralidharan has not been of much help to the agency in this regard.
“Muralidharan has met Ganapathy on numerous occasions. Most of these meetings took place in central forest but he cannot help us pinpoint an exact location on the map or even a rough estimate on Ganapathy’s possible hideouts,” said a senior officer from the security agency. “It looks like Ganapathy trusts only a handful of the central committee members who accompany him everywhere…,” he added.
In May this year, the ATS arrested top Maoist leader K Muralidharan alias Thomas Joseph alias Skaria alias Gopi Alias Raghavan alias Ajith (62) and his close aide Ismail Hamaza Chiragpilli alias Pravin alias James Mathew (29) from Talegaon Dabhade area, nearly 30 km away from Pune.
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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.
“We thought we had got a catch who would lead us to Ganapathy but Muralidharan is not aware of Ganapathy’s latest location, except for the fact that most of the meetings took place in the central forest. Without a specific input, asking our men to travel deep in the woods would be calling for trouble,” said the officer.
However , 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) is touted as the topmost Naxal leader in the country wanted in many Naxal-related activities.
According to sources, Muralidharan has told investigators that the process of meeting Ganapathy would commence with a human courier suddenly landing up at his doorsteps and passing on the message to get on to a train to a particular state and meet another courier at a certain place, which would be mostly a bus stop. The new human courier and Muralidharan would board a state-run bus from there and alight in an interior village.
Soon, the courier would blindfold him and the two would walk for two days. After his blindfolds would come off, Muralidharan could only see tall trees on all sides, realising he was in a jungle. 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 travel plan to meet Ganapathy, the only detail he has shared is the states he has travelled to meet him. He has gone to Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and has followed the same travel plan,” said the officer.
Muralidharan has also given details of certain NGOs that were in touch with the Maoist organisations and took up issues on their behalf. “Most of the email exchanges relate to the NGOs taking up a certain issues to embarrass the government. We are now scanning these NGOs and investigating if their agitations are motivated,” said the officer who refused to divulge the details of the organisations and their activities. A senior police officer, however, said most of these NGOs operated out of Mumbai and were active in Maharashtra.
The counter-terrorism agency is likely to file the chargesheet against Muralidharan by the end of July under certain sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The police have recovered fake Aadhaar and PAN cards from their safe house.
“ We are now trying to locate the local link who facilitated in procuring these government documents for the cadre,” said a source.
The police are on the lookout of a local contact Sanjay Deepak Rao (51), who allegedly provided logistic support to Muralidharan.