TAMIL NADU

Cases against naxalites transferred to Q branch

COIMBATORE Dec. 4. The investigation into the four cases relating to naxalite activities in Dharmapuri district and the recent encounter between the naxalites and the police have been transferred to the State Q Branch police.

The cases were registered against the naxalites at the Uthangarai and Kallavi police stations in connection with the November 24 and 25 encounters.

During the encounter, Shiva alias Parthiban, Radical Youth League State secretary, was killed, and 25 other naxalites were nabbed. Shiva was involved in a case relating to the burning of a bus at Dharmapuri in 2000, following the death of another naxalite leader, Ravindran, in an encounter with the police.

According to police sources, the transfer of the cases was aimed at ensuring a ``scientific and systematic investigation'' by an agency dealing with naxalite activities. Also, as the naxalites hailed from Madurai, Sivaganga and Chennai, besides Dharmapuri, it was decided to hand over the probe to an agency with a Statewide jurisdiction.

The Q Branch had been entrusted with the present task, as the probe called for a sound knowledge of naxalite activities. Relieving the district police of the task of investigation would help in utilising the force in anti-naxalite operations, the sources said.

It was felt that an agency dealing with naxalism would be ideal for co-ordination with its Andhra Pradesh counterpart, as the naxalites were suspected to have had links with the People's War of that State.

Sources said the Q Branch would probe the finer aspects of the case such as the source of weapons, the logistics and the literature including the manual on preparation and use of explosives, grenades and weapons.

The probe would also try to ascertain the plans of the accused in Dharmapuri — whether they had merely chosen the district as a training ground or had any other plan of action to be implemented in the State. The DSP of the Q Branch at Tirupattur, the Q Branch Inspector, Dharmapuri, and the SP, Q Branch, Chennai, are likely to be the officers in charge of the investigation, the sources said.

The Inspector-General of Police (West Zone), Narinder Pal Singh, told The Hindu that the Dharmapuri district police would continue to carry out anti-naxalite operations.

The six special teams of the district police were on the job of apprehending the remaining three naxalites and the hunt for Sundaramurthy, key RYL activist, had been intensified.

The district police had been provided with a company of the Tamil Nadu Special Police Battalion for the anti-naxalite operations and the anti-naxalite cell had been fine tuned to step up intelligence gathering.

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