Woman Maoist nabbed later based on information provided by arrested men

In a setback to the Maoist movement in West Bengal, a key Maoist leader, known to be a close associate of Maoist Polit Bureau member Kishanji, and three others were arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata police from the heart of the city late on Friday.

A woman Maoist leader was nabbed by the STF from Howrah station on Saturday on the basis of information obtained from the four arrested men.

According to the police, huge quantities of ammunition, wireless communication devices, timer devices, improvised explosive device circuits, laptops, CDs, books and documents were seized by different STF teams from several hideouts of the left-wing extremists in four districts in the city's neighbourhood.

Police sources said some of the seized CDs contained footage of training at Maoist camps and seditious speeches by various Maoist leaders.

Sudip Chongdar alias Kanchan alias Batash was appointed secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist)'s West Bengal Committee following the arrest of the former secretary, Himadri Sen Roy, in February 2008.

Hailing from Garhbeta in Paschim Medinipur district, Mr. Chongdar was instrumental in organising the Lalgarh movement in 2008. He has been booked in several cases of sedition since. He was also in charge of strengthening the organisation's base in various other districts beyond the three in Jangalmahal.

Anil Ghosh alias Bijoy, Barun Sur alias Bidyut, and Kalpana Maiti alias Anu are members of the CPI(Maoist)'s State Committee, while Shankar Mallick alias Buchu is a Maoist linkman. Ms. Maiti is the wife of senior Maoist leader Asim Ghosh alias Akash.

“All the five persons have numerous cases registered against them. Seditious charges under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act will be brought against them after the State government grants permission,” STF chief Rajiv Kumar told journalists on Saturday.

The arrested persons were produced at the city sessions court later in the day, and remanded to police custody for 10 days.

Asked about the motive behind so many Maoists planning meetings in the city despite it being under constant watch, Mr. Kumar said this will become clear only after thorough interrogation.

He added that STF teams were conducting searches in Maoist hideouts in Howrah, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas.

PSBJC supporter held

Meanwhile, the Paschim Medinipur police arrested a supporter of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee for allegedly supplying a vehicle to the Maoists during the Silda massacre on February 15, when 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans were killed by the rebels in a surprise attack.

Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma said Kajol Mahato was arrested from Pirakata in Salboni area late on Friday.