Elusive Maoist leader Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathy now carries a bounty of Rs 15 lakh on his head,higher than even the Indian Mujahideens Bhatkal brothers. The NIA has announced bounties totaling Rs 1.70 crore on the top leaders of the CPI (Maoist) and IM.
While the maximum is on the head of Ganapathy,a reward of Rs 10 lakh each has been announced on the heads of Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal,who with the help of Amir Reza Khan set up the IM.
Apart from the Bhatkal brothers,Yasin Siddibappa alias Imran,whose name has figured in every single terror attack since 2005,is also among the most wanted.
The NIA,which is probing the larger conspiracy by IM cadres,has arrested five persons and declared 12 as absconding. Out of 12 wanted men,six hail from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh and are believed to have fled to Pakistan via Dubai after a crackdown on the terror group in 2008. One of them,Dr Shahnawaz Alam,is believed to be controlling these Azamgarh men.
Another wanted IM man is Ismail Chaudhary,a resident of Pune,who earlier spent some time in Hyderabad. According to captured IM cadres,Chaudhary is also believed to be in Pakistan.
In a separate probe involving Naxals,the NIA declared Ganapathy and four other top leaders of the central committee as wanted in connection with the procurement and manufacture of sophisticated arms and ammunition,including rocket launchers. Beside Ganapathy,a reward of Rs 10 lakh each has been declared by NIA on three Maoist leaders while Rs 5 lakh has been declared on one.
In 2012,the NIA had arrested a top leader of the CPI (Maoist) Central Technical Committee,Sadanala Ramakrishna,from Kolkata and eight others from Bengal and Maharashtra. After filing a chargesheet against all the nine arrested persons,including Ramakrishna,a mechanical engineer from REC,Warangal,the NIA moved court to seek action against the top Maoist leadership.
The NIA chargesheet had alleged that funds and infrastructure used for procurement and manufacture of weapons to launch an attack on security forces were being done at the behest of the top leadership,including Ganapathy.