A suspected top Maoist, active in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for nearly two decades and named in more than 200 cases, including 19 murders and 29 attempted murders, has been arrested from Balaghat.
Dilip alias Guha Uike (36) was taken into custody after an exchange of fire in the forests near Songudda on Wednesday, police said Friday. Five other Naxals, who were with Dilip, managed to escape and also took away his weapon.
The “Maoist” leader has been remanded in a 12-day police custody.
Dilip, who carried a total reward of Rs 35 lakh in three states on his head, is said to be a divisional committee member operating in Gadhchiroli. Police said he was a member of Malajkhand Dalam for the first four years, and later became deputy commander of a special guerrilla squad between 2004 and 2006 before becoming the divisional committee member of north Gadchiroli-Gondia division of CPI(Maoist) in 2008.
According to the police, a tip-off was received by them that Dilip was seen in the jungles of Songudda on May 20. Accompanied by armed rebels, Dilip was in plain clothes. Another version said he had come to attend a wedding at a village.
Balaghat is the only district in MP that the Centre recognises as Maoist-affected, while the state government maintains the Naxals are present in many other districts.
Balaghat SP Gaurav Tiwari told The Indian Express that Dilip was in touch with key Naxal leaders in Gadchiroli, Gondia and Rajnandgaon, and had information about all major attacks carried out by the left-wing extremists. He also had information about attacks in which he was not directly involved, like the murder of Congress minister Likhiram Kaware in 1999, the official said.
After apprehending Dilip, the police chose not to take the same route back to Songudda chowki, about six-seven km away, fearing landmines. They took a circuitous route over 22 km and returned on Thursday evening, the SP said, adding, Dilip used to stay in contact with key Maoists Kopa and Kobad Ghandy.
Born in Mate village, Dilip allegedly joined Malajkhand Dalam when he was 16. He married Varsha in 2005 and the couple lived together for five years. The police said currently he was associated with Sangeeta, a Dalam member from Rashimeta village.
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