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Ailing Maoist off limits to cops

Kobad Ghandy, 63, the highest-ranking Maoist to be captured so far, had come to Delhi for medical treatment. Karan Choudhury reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2009 00:42 IST
Karan Choudhury

Kobad Ghandy, 63, the highest-ranking Maoist to be captured so far, had come to Delhi for medical treatment.

The London trained chartered accountant, who joined the Maoist movement in the 1970s, made his first public appearance after nearly three decades underground on Tuesday morning in court. The court sent him to judicial custody for 14 days, refusing to hand him over to the police for questioning, because of his health.

“Ghandy claims he was in Delhi because of his medical condition,” said a senior police officer. “We have not been able to take him into remand as yet because he is ill.”

Police were not sure as to what exactly he was suffering from. While some claimed he had a serious heart condition, others said he had cancer.

Ghandy was arrested on Sunday evening by the Delhi and Andhra Pradesh police working together, following an intelligence tip-off.

Ghandy was particular about the lawyer he wanted to defend him — legal activist Prashant Bhushan. “Somebody did contact me. But I don’t know much about the case,” Bhushan told HT. “If I feel he’s being unnecessarily targeted, I’ll help him.”

Security sources revealed that Ghandy’s capture came following a change of strategy, in which they decided to target the top leaders of the Maoist movement and track them down. They have specially focused on members of the Maoists’ highest decision making body, its Politburo, comprising — according to police estimates — between 11 and 14 people.

Four of them, including Ghandy, have been captured so far.