ATS nabs most-wanted Maoist leader

Picked up along with an aide from hospital

Updated - April 03, 2016 01:05 am IST

Published - May 10, 2015 12:00 am IST - Pune:

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has nabbed a top-ranking leader of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), Ajith, who has been absconding for the last 25 years.

On most-wanted lists since 1990, Maoist leader Ajith (62), who also goes by the aliases K. Muralidharan and Thomas Joseph, is said to be a close aide of Mullapa Lakshmana Rao, the present general secretary of the CPI (Maoist), who goes by his better known nom de guerre ‘Ganapathy.’

Maoist, aide were staying on the outskirts of Pune

One of the most-wanted Maoist leader, Ajith, was reportedly picked up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the State police from a hospital in Talegaon Dabhade, on the city outskirts on Friday.

According to ATS sources, he was arrested along with his young aide, identified by the police as Ismail Hamza Chiragpilli also known by his pseudonyms Pravin and James Mathew and produced before a special judge on Saturday.

They said Ajith and Ismail were residing in the Talegaon Dabhade locality, 30 km from here, under false identities, but did not divulge details of how long they were staying there.

The two were booked under IPC sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 467, 468, 471 and 34 read with sections 10, 13, 20, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

“We arrested them after a tip-off from a source,” said Bhanupratap Barge, Senior Police Inspector, ATS (Pune Unit).

Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the Shivajinagar District and Sessions Court and the media debarred from proceedings owing to security reasons. The accused were produced in the court with hoods over their heads.

Additional Sessions Judge S.V. Mane granted a seven-day police remand to question the accused.

This is the second important Maoist arrest in months made by the ATS from Pune after the high-profile arrest of alleged top Maoist urban operative Arun Bhelke and his wife, Kanchan Nanaware last year in September.

According to ATS sources, Bhelke, currently lodged in Pune’s Yerwada prison, was a top recruiter and had allegedly revealed that he was the Maoist area commander for the Golden Corridor region that stretches from Gujarat to western Maharashtra.

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