The arrested Maoist leader Venkatesh Reddy alias Deepak, has admitted that he was tasked with setting up a safe corridor between the forested areas of West Bengal’s southwestern districts (known as Jangalmahal) and Nandigram, police sources said on Thursday.
Deepak, who was arrested here on Tuesday, is also reported to have said the Trinamool Congress had provided Maoists with arms and that they, in turn, gave supporters of the party arms training during the movement in Nandigram.
It was the Maoists’ intention to gain a foothold in the Nandigram area with Trinamool help in the course of the agitation, led by the party in 2007 against alleged moves by the State government to acquire land for the setting up a chemical hub there.
Deepak, who was grilled round the clock by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department and other higher police officials, is learnt to have been cooperating with the interrogators and speaking candidly about his activities.
However, he declined to divulge details of the organisational set-up of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), its activities and city-based sympathisers, for fear of the police embarking on random arrests.
According to the interrogators, Deepak said he “has ideological differences” with Maoist Polit Bureau member Kishanji over the method of continuing the movement, and blamed him for “hurrying up with things,” which resulted in successive blows to the outfit in the form of arrests and killings of squad members.
Deepak has reportedly admitted that once Operation Green Hunt is fully operational in all States, the Maoists will not be able to combat the security forces for long.
He said he was sent to West Bengal first in 1995 to do groundwork on the possibility of extending the Maoist movement. For, the State had already witnessed one such movement in the 1970s.
Deepak said the party leaders had hoped to generate support in north Bengal as Naxalbari is located there. Backing, however, came from the southwestern parts, and he had been deputed to the Lalgarh region since 1999 to raise armed squads before being asked to look after the land movements in Singur and Nandigram in 2006.
Deepak claimed that he had not visited his home and mother for the past 15 years, police sources said.
A regular visitor to Kolkata since 1995, the sources said, he had come here this time to strengthen the organisational base of the party’s city unit.
An audio cassette, found on his person at the time of arrest, reportedly contained a speech by a senior Maoist leader.