OTHERS

Van number gave a clue to police

BANGALORE, MAY 8. It was the registration number of the Maruti van in which the dreaded Naxalite Chinna Sudarshan was moving about that helped the Dharmavaram Police in tracing him.

According to the Andhra Pradesh Police, Manjunath, a close associate of Sudarshan, was arrested by the Dharmavaram Police recently. During the interrogation, Manjunath revealed to police not only about the movements and hideouts of Sudarshan but also the arms and ammunitions he possessed and the registration number of the van in which he was travelling, an officer told TheHindu.

It is said that Sudarshan had rented two houses one in Magadi Road and other in Mysore Road. However, he had changed his hideouts after Manjunath was arrested by the Dharmavaram Police recently.

It was in the green Maruti van bearing the registration number KA-04-8693, that was parked in front of Deepti Dabha near Nelamangala, the Dharmavaram Police found Sudarshan having his food on Sunday night.

One of the two police teams that had come from Dharmavaram was hunting for Sudarshan on the outskirts of the City. After they saw the van with the registration number they were searching for, the Inspector, Mr. Ramoji, and six constables cordoned the vehicle.

After confirming that Sudarshan was in the van, they asked him to surrender. Sudarshan, even as he was talking to Mr. Ramoji saying there was no meaning in surrendering, took out a 9 m.m. pistol and opened fire at Mr. Subba Reddy, a constable of the Anti- Extremist Operation Squad from Cuddapah, killing him on the spot, according to one of the senior officers.

Immediately, Sudarshan, got down from the car and started retreating even as he continued firing at the police. However, the police who opened 49 rounds of fire puncturing his heart and liver and chased him to a field, 40 yards away, where he fell dead.

Another associate of Sudarshan, suspected to be his brother-in- law, managed to escape. Hundreds of people in the vicinity were witness to the encounter that went on for more than 45 minutes.

As many as 11 bullets had pierced through the Maruti van belonging to Sudarshan. Following the encounter, the customers at the dabha ran helter skelter, leaving behind their bags and footwear, according to eye-witnesses.

Meanwhile, a senior officer said that as the police were in a large number compared to the outlwas, they thought they could easily overpower the naxalites.

``But Sudarshan was prepared for everything and shocked us by opening fire and killing a constable and injuring another,'' the officer said.

The Bangalore Rural District Police came to know of the incident after everything ended around 10 p.m. The Bangalore Rural District SP, Mr. S. Ramakrishna, his Ananthapur counterpart, Mr. V.R.K. Mohan Rao, and other officers visited the spot.

The Nelamangala Police have registered a case and are investigating, Mr. Ramakrishna said while denying that the naxalite was taking shelter at a house in Nelamangala.

After the autopsy, the constable, Mr. Subba Reddy's body was taken to Chudahap for cremation. However, there were no claimants for Sudarshan's body though his parents have been informed about hid death, police said.