Gadchiroli Police on Wednesday arrested senior Naxalite Dinkar Gota, 42, in connection with the landmine blast on May 1 last year that had killed 15 policemen and a civilian. Police also arrested Sunanda Koreti, 35, a member of Korchi dalam, along with Gota.
“The two were living as companions and had strayed out of the movement in September last year. We were in their pursuit through our sources and finally managed to nab them from a border village,” Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawade told The Indian Express.
As it comes close on the heels of the surrender of senior Naxal cadre Vilas Kolha last week, Gota’s arrest assumes greater significance. It’s the first time two senior cadres of the Naxal movement have surrendered within a span of seven days.
A press note issued by Balkawade said, “Gota is a member of the North Gadchiroli Divisional Committee (DVCM) of CPI (Maoist) and was one of the masterminds of the May 1, 2019, landmine blast near Jambhulkheda in Kurkheda tahsil that had claimed lives of 15 policemen and the driver of the civilian vehicle they were traveling in.They were heading for a visit to the spot near Dadapur village where Naxals had set fire to 36 vehicles deployed for road work on the previous day.”
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had subsequently taken over the blast probe from Gadchiroli Police, which had arrested eight persons in connection with the case.
“Carrying a reward of Rs 16 lakh on his head, Gota was active in Korchi dalam and was involved in 108 serious crimes, including 33 civilian murders… Koreti is involved in 38 crimes and carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh,” the press note added.
“Gota had joined the Naxal movement in 2005 and rose to the position of DVCM in 2016. He was also involved in the 2009 Markegaon ambush that had claimed lives of 15 policemen,” the note further stated.
Koreti had joined the movement in 2009.
The Naxal movement in Gadchiroli has been crippled since 2018, with over 40 cadres dying in the Boria-Kasnasur encounter in April that year. The deceased included three DVCMs, Srinu, Nandu and Sainath. Since 2019, four DVCMs — Radha Majji, her husband Deepak, Gokul and Kolha — have surrendered while another DVCM, Ramko, was killed in an encounter near Gundurwahi village in Bhgamragad tahsil.
The biggest jolt to the movement was the arrest of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee members Narmada and her husband Kiran last year.
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