Twelve Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed and 28 injured when suspected Maoists triggered a landmine blast at Pushtola in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra, on Tuesday.

Home Minister R.R. Patil told the Assembly here that eight of the injured were in a serious condition and shifted to a private hospital in Nagpur.

“Some companies of CRPF were to be posted at Pomke Gatta on Tuesday. That is why the CRPF battalion was on its way from Karvafa to Gatta for road opening and area domination. When they were near Pushtola village between 11.30 a.m. and noon, the naxalites blasted the landmine,” Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Viresh Prabhu said. The jawans were travelling in a bus.

Two choppers were immediately pressed into service to shift the injured to hospital. While eight seriously injured jawans were sent to Nagpur, the rest were taken to the city civil hospital in Gadchiroli.

CRPF head Vijay Kumar, who is on an official tour of the State, was in Gadchiroli when the blast took place.