Joint Forces and Maoist cadre today exchanged fire in the forests of Binpur in West Midnapore district.

“Acting on a tip-off that a Maoist squad led by Suchitra Mahato, wife of slain Maoist leader Sasadhar Mahato, was camping at Amarkuli in Binpur, the Joint Forces launched an operation early today,” Additional Superintendent of Police of Jhargram Mukesh Kumar said.

As soon as the Joint Forces reached the area, Maoists fired at them, forcing the Joint Forces to retaliate, he said.

When the Joint Forces retaliated, the Maoists fled from the area leaving behind arms, ammunition, medical prescription and Maoist literature, Mr. Kumar said.

Seven firearms, including an SLR and a pipegun, clothes of Maoists and medical prescription for Suchitra Mahato were found from the spot, he said.

The police suspect the squad leader Suchitra Mahato may be sick.

Combing operation was going on in the area, with the Joint Forces assisted by the COBRA force of CRPF and State police.