As security agencies hunted for Naxal leaders behind the Dantewada massacre, Papa Rao, a Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh, is emerging as the alleged mastermind and a massive manhunt has been launched.
Born in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal district, 50-year-old Rao, a general seceretary of Maoists' Jagarbandhu area committee, is known to be the right hand man of Ramana, the Special General Secretary of Dandakarnya region. 75 CRPF men were killed in the country's worst-ever Maoist attack in Chattisgarh.
Rao has been engaged in armed activities in the region and a massive manhunt has been launched to nab him, official sources said in New Delhi on Friday.
Dandakaranya is the forest tract in the country's central-southern region covering parts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra where the banned CPI (Maoist) virtually run a parallel government envisioning a "liberated" zone.
Investigators from the central and state security agencies claim that the tell-tale signs of the audacious attack pointed to the involvement of Papa Rao who is known to have a detailed knowledge about the area's topography.
CRPF personnel, who were out on an operation against Naxals in thick forests, fell victims to the deadly attack on the morning of April 6.
Earlier, the names of Ramana and Hidma, military advisor to the Jagarbandhu area committee, were also doing the rounds as those responsbile for the attack.
Ramana hails from Warangal area, once the hotbed of Naxalites, and has been active in Dantewada region for long. He is involved in many strikes on security forces.