Raktima Bose

KOLKATA: The police on Saturday said they seized the laptop and SIM cards used by the Maoist leader Kishenji after a raid in which the polit bureau member of the outlawed party narrowly escaped. Announcing this in a press conference, Paschim Mednipur SP Manoj Kumar Verma said the police came close to capture Mr. Kishenji four times since the launch of anti-naxal operations in June 2009.

However, he admitted that Mr. Kishenji managed to give police a slip each time. The latest bid of the security forces has been a massive operation in the district’s Metala forest since January 18.

According to Mr. Verma, while the security personnel were several metres away from Mr. Kishanji’s hideout late on Tuesday after about 30-hours of gun battle, he took advantage of the heavy firing between the forces and the rebels and also the poor visibility to escape.

The police said around 40 Maoist squad members, including 10 to 12 women, were present at the spot along with Mr. Kishanji when the hideout was raided.

A laptop, several mobile SIM cards, firearms, ammunition, uniforms and Maoist literature were seized from the spot.

Claiming that the operation against the Maoists was on the right track and that Mr. Kishanji was still hiding somewhere in the district, Mr. Verma said that the operations were underway based on the information extracted from the arrested Maoists.

Mr. Verma also said circumstantial evidence point to the fact that the laptop and SIM cards seized were used by Mr. Kishanji.

He, however, refused to divulge details about the information found from the laptop so far for investigation’s sake.

“The laptop will be sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory here for further investigation and only then can the details be shared,” Mr. Verma said.

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