The banned Maoist faction People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) has owned up the killing of AJSU Party leader Tileshwar Sahu in Hazaribagh on Saturday, capping years of a violent campaign against the controversial leader.
On Sunday, police recovered five time-bombs and remote-controlled-bombs from a hide-out of PLFI rebels one of whom was nabbed after shooting dead Sahu at Barhi.
The seizures were made on Sunday morning following a tip-off from the arrested PLFI member Suraj Prasad.
“We have recovered time-bombs and IED-making materials from a room rented by the shooters,” said Manoj Kaushik, superintendent of police (SP), Hazaribagh.
He added the recovered bombs were diffused by a bomb disposal squad (BDS) team which was rushed to Barhi from the Police Training Centre at Hazaribagh.
Sahu, 48, was shot dead by PLFI members in presence of hundreds of AJSU Party workers during a function organised to mark Women’s Day near Sahu’s residence in Barhi, around 150 north of capital Ranchi.
On Saturday night, a person claiming to be PLFI supremo Dinesh Gope had called up media houses and admitted to killing Sahu. He, however, did not give any reason.
Sahu had a long-running animosity with the PLFI, a result of his alleged close association with its rival Maoist group Pahari Cheetah. Sahu is said to have turned down the PLFI’s demand for “levy”.
Sahu survived several attacks on him by the PLFI but the rebels killed several members of his family including his father and brother-in-law.
There are several cases of murder and possession of arms registered against Sahu who is also accused of being involved in illegal timber trade.
Police said that the seizure included five tiffin-bombs connected with timers and remote controls, four country-made pistols, five round of .315 bullets, gelatin sticks, detonators, chemical powders, two extra remote-controls and other explosive materials.
According to police, the bombs and explosive materials were found from a room in the densely-populated Azad Mohalla under Barhi police station area. Two PLFI members were staying there for the last ten days. “They had identified themselves as labourers to the landowner,” said Kaushik.
According to a sub-inspector rank police officer of the district, the PLFI rebels were planning to plant the time-bombs and remote-controlled-bombs in the ground were the function was organised but did not succeed due to heavy presence of party workers.
A BDS member told Hindustan Times that had the PLFI been successful in planting the bombs at the ground the casualties would had been high. Each bomb could have caused fatal injuries to people standing in a radius of five metres from the explosion point.
Police quoted the arrested PLFI members as saying that Gope had promised to give them Rs. 6 lakh after killing Sahu. The PLFI came into existence in 2002-2003 after splitting from the parent CPI-Maoist. It was banned in 2011.
In the last one decade, more than 300 people have been killed in fratricidal war between the two outlawed outfits, which profess to be fighting for the rights for the downtrodden and exploited villagers.