List includes hand grenades, rocket launchers, rifles, booby traps

Technical wizards among Maoist rebels have apparently mastered the art of reverse engineering.

Working in nondescript workshops in industrial areas of various cities, Maoist techies made grenades, rifles, booby traps, rockets, rocket launchers, pressure activated mines and even Carbine sub-machine guns using volumes of technical diagrams

These weapons were made using the commonly available mechanical equipment such as lathe machines.

They provided a tactical advantage to Maoists in successfully preventing the advance of security forces into their areas such as Bastar or Saranda forests in Jharkhand.

It is believed that such units have been set up in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The recent arrest of a top Maoist leader, Sadanala Ramakrishna alias Dokra, has thrown more light on the vast network of these units.

Dokra, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Regional Engineering College (renamed as National Institute of Technology) in Warangal, was the chief of the Technical Research and Arms Manufacturing (TRAM) units. He is stated to be an exceptionally intelligent engineer

Eluded intelligence

The methods adopted by TRAM units were so ingenious that they escaped the attention of intelligence agencies as well as local police.

Parts of these weapons were made in cities such as Bhopal, Rourkela, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai and sent to Bastar where “mobile assembly units' assembled them to make weapons.

Informed sources say Maoists started such units way back in 1989. They set up a ‘technical unit' led by Dokra in Basavanagudi area of Bangalore.

It was later shifted to Sholapur and to Pune for a variety of reasons.

At that time their focus was more on making double barrel weapons. But soon they laid emphasis on producing bombs and weapons such as rocket launchers and rockets. This came to light only in September 2006, when the police seized a huge contingent of rocket launchers in Mahabubnagar and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Within a fortnight, Maoist techie Thota Kumara Swamy alias ‘Tech Madhu' was arrested. His interrogation led to the busting of weapon parts making units in the Ambattur industrial area of Chennai and in Bhopal and Rourkela. ‘Tech Madhu' told police that he had manufactured 1550 rockets and 40 shoulder-fired rocket launchers.

Police believe that Dokra manufactured thousands of rockets and hundreds of rocket launchers in addition to thousands of pressure activated mines.