ATS detains top ‘Maoist operative’

Arun Bhelke was nabbed from Kasewadi.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: September 2, 2014 4:14:01 am
(Left) Police say Bhelke changed his appearance. (Right) His photograph that is on police record. (Left) Police say Bhelke changed his appearance. (Right) His photograph that is on police record.

The State Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has detained an alleged operative of the banned Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) in Pune.

Identified as Arun Bhanudas Bhelke (38), a native of Ballarpur in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, he used aliases like Shravan Jadhav, Sanjay Kamble, Rajan, Sangharsh and Anand.

Acting on a tip-off to ATS chief Himanshu Roy, a police team nabbed Bhelke from Kasewadi on Monday evening. Senior police inspector Bhanupratap Barge of the ATS said, “Investigation revealed that Bhelke was active in Pune for the last one year. He is associated with top leaders of the banned CPI-Maoists and is known to be a good organiser. He was in contact with youths aged between 18 and 22 years, associated with an outfit, Mass Movement in Kasewadi area. We are probing whether he was trying to indoctrinate Pune youths with Maoist ideology.”

Police said Bhelke was earlier arrested in an arms case registered at Ramnagar police station in Chandrapur in January 2008. He was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Arms Act. Police said after being released on bail, he went underground along with wife Bhoomi alias Kanchan, who hails from Chandrapur.

Police said a non-bailable warrant was issued against Bhelke by a Chandrapur court. The ATS would hand over Bhelke to Chandrapur police.

Sources said Bhelke lived at different places in Pune under different names and avoided using cell phones. He was extra cautious. Even while riding a two-wheeler, he ensured he would not be captured on CCTV cameras at petrol pumps. Police said he used to send aides for filling fuel.

Sources who said they knew Bhelke said he was a firebrand youth activist in Chandrapur. He was a student of Sardar Patel College in Chandrapur, but was more active in Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar college in the same district. He formed an outfit Deshbhakta Yuva Manch for networking youths. He and his wife Kanchan, both post graduates, operated the outfit that later turned out to be a Maoist front. The couple is suspected to have joined a Maoist party after coming in contact with left wing extremists from Chandrapur. Bhelke started a magazine named “College Katta” for attracting college students and teachers. “But his articles in this magazine were inclined towards Maoist ideology,” sources said.

Police said Bhelke changed his looks. His photograph on police record has hair and moustache. Inspector Barge, Inspector Sunil Tambe, Balkrishna Kutwal, assistant inspector Nagesh Bhaskar, Sumedh Kopikar, Rahul Rakh, Ashwini Jagtap, Joglekar, constables Sunil Pawar, Shankar Sampate, Appa Gaikwad, Balasaheb Barguje were involved in nabbing Bhelke.

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