NIA declares ₹7 lakh bounty on Maoist leader Madvi Hidma

He leads the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army Battalion 1 of the Maoists.

Updated - April 18, 2021 08:00 am IST

Published - April 17, 2021 11:27 pm IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Madvi Hidma, pictured in a forest in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. Photo: Special Arrangement

A file photo of Madvi Hidma, pictured in a forest in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. Photo: Special Arrangement

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has declared a reward of ₹7 lakh for the arrest of Madvi Hidma, who heads the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) Battalion 1 of the Maoists, a lethally armed and trained unit of the banned group active in southern Chhattisgarh, one of the worst areas affected by Left Wing Extremism.

Though the reward has been announced in a 2019 case pertaining to the killing of Chhattisgarh legislator Bhima Mandavi , the State police had said Hidma was involved in the April 3 ambush at the Sukma—Bijapur border where 22 security personnel were killed .

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A ₹10 lakh reward has also been announced for information leading to the arrest of CPI (Maoist) general secretary Basavaraju, alias Nambala Keshava Rao , 66. He already has a reward of ₹1.85 crore on his head, announced cumulatively by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

According to a police dossier accessed by The Hindu , Rao was last spotted in the “cut—off” area in Odisha’s Malkangiri district in November 2019. An engineer, Rao heads the intelligence and military wing of the banned group and is active in the Abujhmaad area of Chhattisgarh. Rao replaced Ganapathi as general secretary in February 2017. A reward of ₹10 lakh each has also been announced for information on Polit Bureau members Mallojula Venugopal and Katkam Sudarshan. Venugopal who often issues statements on behalf of the banned group by the name “Abhay” also has a reward of ₹1.55 crore on his arrest as announced by the States of Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Telengana and Odisha. Sudarshan has ₹1.4 crore reward by other State police. Sudarshan was last spotted in July 2020 in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli and Sudarshan at Bhattiguda in Chattisgarh’s Bijapur.

The rewards were announced by NIA on April 1 against 21 Maoists including the top leadership.

The NIA had taken over the investigations in the killing of Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel from Chhattisgarh Police in 2019 but the central agency was handed over the case documents and properties by the police only in March 2020, the agency said. It arrested six persons for providing logistics to Maoists and a chargehseet was filed in October 2020 where the NIA said that “the decision to kill Bhima Mandavi, the then MLA of Dantewada, was taken at Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) level meeting held in December 2018 in West Bastar, Chhattisgarh.”

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NIA said its investigation established that top Maoist leadership, Nambala Keshava Rao was actively involved in the conspiracy along with Kattam Sudarshan, Mallojulla Venugopal, Thippari Tirupati alias Dev ji, Roulla Srinivas alias Ramanna, Hidma, Ganesh Uike alias Pakka and Hanumantu.

The others against whom rewards have been announced are Barse Sukka — ₹5 lakh, Giri Reddy — ₹7 lakh, Masa Madvi — ₹ 1 lakh. Linge Madkam — ₹2 lakh, Madvi Deve — ₹50,000, Madvi Linga — ₹50,000, Kuhram Sunita — ₹50,000, Midiyam Suresh — ₹50,000, Umesh Hemla — ₹20,000, Jagdish Kudam — ₹3 lakh, Paka Hanumanthu — ₹7 lakh and Sappo Hunga — ₹5 lakh.

The NIA does not have photographs of 11 of the wanted persons whereas a single grainy photograph of Hidma, available with all other security agencies and police dates back to 2007.

Officials said that Hidma had risen the ranks among the Maoists and had been tasked to carry out operations against security forces in smaller groups.

A letter released by the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoists) in 2016 said that “PLGA has been fighting the mercenary police and paramilitary forces of the exploitative ruling classes under the leadership of the party… to develop Dandakaranya zone into liberated areas.”

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The Dandakaranya region, which includes parts of Maharashtra, southern Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana is said to be the stronghold of the Maoists and they consider it as a “liberated zone.” According to a police dossier, Hidma, a Class VIII dropout belongs to Jagargunda in Sukma district and is said to wield tremendous influence on the locals there.

He is also said to be involved the 2010 attack when 76 CRPF jawans were killed at Tadmetla in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. His involvement is also suspected in the March 11, 2017 incident when 12 CRPF jawans were ambushed when they had gone to secure a road—construction party near Bhejji in Sukma. Police said that Hidma’s group killed 17 members of a police patrol in Chattisgarh’s Sukma on March 22, 2020.

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