At a time when several industrial units were being sealed in residential areas , as per the Supreme Court orders in 2000, and the labourers being relocated, a quiet conspiracy was being carried out—Maoists were scouting for “displaced labourers” and recruiting them.
L.S.N. Murthi (65) alias Krishna Rao, a top Maoist leader arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police on March 22, had been living in Delhi for the past several years under a fake name. He used to attend meetings organised by several NGOs and civil rights groups where these labourers came.
This was revealed during the questioning of DU lecturer Sunil Mandiwal who had reportedly paid the rent on behalf of Murthi and collected some CDs and books from the house. “I know one Krishna Rao. I received a letter from him asking me to pay the rent and collect his books and CDs from his landlord. This person whom the police arrested is not the one I met. I met the other Krishna Rao during civil rights meetings during the industrial relocation drive in Delhi,” Mandiwal said.
Murthi’s last hideout was in Vasant Gaon, south Delhi, where he lived as Natarajan. He had told the landlord that he was working for a publishing house that prints study material for children, police said.
Murthi had been underground since September 2009 after another top leader Kobad Ghandy was arrested. Police said Murthi carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh and was underground for the past 25 years. He was arrested from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh on March 22.
Murthi had submitted a PAN card as identification proof with the landlord that was made by an agent—Shivam Computers in Molarbad Extension in Badarpur. Arvind Joshi, a PhD scholar arrested last month for his alleged links with Ghandy and the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), had allegedly asked the agent to prepare the PAN card, police said. Quoting Ghandy’s interrogation report, HT had carried a report on February 2 that west Delhi was the new den of Maoist activities in the capital and they have a considerable presence among students and trade unions.
“Murthi was in touch with Joshi and it shows a clear presence and nexus of Maoists in the city. We are also looking for a student identified as Vijay who had accompanied the DU lecturer to Vasant Gaon village to collect Murthi’s belongings,” said a senior police officer.
Police recovered 400 books and 10 CDs from Mandiwal’s house that belonged to Murthi who is presently in the custody of AP police. Mandiwal has been made a witness in the case.