Two days after the Jharkhand police said that they had recovered pamphlets that allegedly described a plan by the CPI (Maoists) to abduct Latehar District Collector Aradhana Patnaik, the rebels in an audio statement to The Hindu denied this terming it a “police conspiracy”.

District police in Palamu on Friday had claimed to have recovered a country-made revolver, pamphlets and other Maoist literature from a room in Hotel Rudra in Medininagar when they raided the hotel on a tip-off.

A senior police official based in Ranchi had, however, on Saturday said the State police were yet to establish the authenticity of the pamphlets that described a plan to abduct Ms. Patnaik.

On Sunday, in a 15-minute audio clip, Maoists spokesperson Gopal said the police were “spreading rumours to turn ordinary people and intellectuals against Maoists” by claiming that they had planned to abduct a woman official.

“None of our cadre had gone to the town or to the hotel. We are focussed on class struggle. I request the Collector, Aradhana Patnaik, to consider our ideology and not believe the police version. We guarantee her and all women officials and people’s representatives’ security if they work for people,” said Mr. Gopal terming this “a police conspiracy in collusion with their informer Abhay Mishra lodged in Latehar jail.”

The spokesperson further stated that the police had promoted armed vigilante groups such as the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) in Latehar and adjoining districts to fight the Maoists. It claimed that villagers testified that they had observed cadre of TPC, which is in the government’s list of left-wing extremist groups in Jharkhand – travelling in police vehicles.

“We have no plan to abduct people’s representatives such as the Member of Parliament from Chatra Inder Singh Namdhari whose convoy we had attacked Latehar in 2012. We had attacked his convoy to avenge the death of Kishenji. But we want an audience with these parliamentarians, who divert crores meant for public welfare in connivance with officers. We want to talk to them and ask them questions. But the government does not want to talk to us,” he added.

Jharkhand DGP Rajeev Kumar termed this a backing down by the rebels. “They have realised this plan going public has not gone well and that is why they are stating such things. They are frustrated with their setbacks. We have had similar inputs earlier and had alerted the Latehar collector,” he said.

Ms Patnaik said she will continue her work and visit remote villages in the district.