The Bihar police have netted yet another important Maoist. A top politburo think tank member Jagdish Yadav was nabbed in Gaya district on Sunday night.

This is the second major catch following the arrest in April of politburo members Varanasi Subramanyam, Pulendu Mukherjee and Vijay Kumar Arya in Katihar district.

Known by aliases such as Jagdish Master, Akhileshji and Prabhatji, 70-year-old Yadav was a member of the Maoist Central Committee between 1996 and 2004 and had been a politburo member since then, overseeing major operations in Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

Police sources said Yadav was a big fish in the Maoist pecking order, ranking just below Ganapathy and Kishenji.

Speaking to The Hindu, Deputy Inspector-General (Magadh Range) Umesh Kumar said the operation was carried out following intelligence that Yadav was being treated in a clinic run by Lalji Yadav in Guraru. There is speculation that Yadav was undergoing treatment incognito. The operation was carried out by Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar.

The sources said Yadav was planning attacks on the oft-targeted Madanpur Central Reserve Police Force camp in Aurangabad and the restive Dumaria area in Gaya district.

An absconder since 1972, he was wanted for a landlord's murder in Aurangabad after a class war ensued between two factions.

Carrying a reward of Rs.3 lakh on his head, Yadav has been involved in several major Naxal operations in Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

The sources said he was wanted in two cases by the Andhra Pradesh police, eight by the Jharkhand police and 14 cases by the Bihar police, including the notorious Lakhisarai police hostage case, last year.

A resident of Gamhariya village in Aurangabad district, Yadav played a key role in overseeing the merger of the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre in October 2004.