Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was shot at point-blank range by the Andhra Pradesh Police and not in an encounter, a news-magazine has claimed.
"The post-mortem conducted on the body of Maoist leader Azad categorically establishes that he was killed at close range with a handgun in a fake encounter by the Andhra Pradesh Police on July 1 at Adilabad," the Outlook news-magazine claimed in a report.
It claimed to have accessed the post-mortem report of Azad on which it sought the opinion of three experts in three different cities.
"Three leading forensic medicine and wound ballistic experts, who were given copies of Azad's post-mortem report without revealing the identity of the deceased, have come to the conclusion that the victim was shot from a distance of 7.5 cms or even less," the magazine said in a press release.
The post-mortem report records a 1-cm oval-shaped wound just a few inches above the left nipple where the bullet entered, tore through this heart and exited from the back just between the ninth and the tenth vertebrae, it said.
The wound's entry point, the doctor conducting the post-mortem records, had "darkening (and) burned edge" at the left second intercostal space (the space between the two ribs)," the release said.
The post-mortem findings do not tie up with the police version that the Maoist ideologue was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police atop a hill, it said.