The Jharkhand police on Wednesday night nabbed a top Maoist leader, along with his wife, from a village 110 km from Ranchi.

Narla Ravi Sharma, considered to be an expert in military tactics in the Maoist circles, was arrested by the Hazaribagh police, along with his wife Anuradha.

“He would be taken on remand,” the police said.

Hazaribagh Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kamboj told The Hindu that contrary to reports in newspapers and websites, “it was a rumour that the Andhra Pradesh police had nabbed them in Patna on the 10th of this month and that Sharma had dramatically escaped in transit.”

According to the Jharkhand police, Sharma had been in-charge of the Bihar and Jharkhand Special Area Committee (B&JSAC), which forms part of the Maoists’ Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB), since 1997.

Police sources said Sharma, who also played an active part in the Sub-Committee of Political Education (SCOPE – the Maoist ideological wing), was most probably on his way to meet top leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji.

Sharma hails from Mahboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, while his wife Anuradha is from the West Godavari region of the State. The sources said Sharma, an M.Sc. in Agriculture, was pursuing Ph.D from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Delhi.

According to Mr. Kamboj, on October 10, the vehicle in which Sharma, along with 6-7 comrades, was travelling got trapped in a minor road jam near the Ichak area. The Maoists picked up a fight with the locals and in doing so, created a ruckus. The locals got suspicious on seeing them armed and alerted the police.

The Jharkhand police finally picked up Sharma on October 13 from a village near the NH-33, about 110 km from Ranchi.

“We traced calls made in Telugu from a local PCO in the village. We also got reports from villagers about people who spoke a different language,” said Mr. Kamboj.

Books recovered

Many magazines, military books along with books in Telugu, mainly dealing with military tactics, were found in Sharma’s possession. The police also retrieved from him a PAN card registered under an alias name Ashok Kumar and bearing a Patna address, and two driving licences — one having a Kolkata address and the other carrying a Patna address.

A laptop was retrieved from his wife, who was carrying two voter ID cards registered under different addresses — one in Jamshedpur and the other in Patna.

Many letters were also seized from the two, including one from Anuradha’s possession, which happened to be from People’s War Group (PWG) leader Ganapathy.