Eight Maoist were gunned down in a major gun battle in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.
The gun fight between a special police party and the outlawed Communist Party of India - Maoist cadre took place in Erragundapalem in the Nallamalla forests of Prakasam district.
The slain Maoists include CPI-Maoist state committee member and Guntur district secretary Jeevan alias Prakash.
No policemen was injured the encounter.
Police sources said that top Maoist leader and state committee secretary Madhav was also injured in the fight, but he managed to escape into the forest.
Police forces have launched a massive hunt for Madhav, one of the most wanted Maoists.
According to the police, the gun battle occurred when the police party combing the forests came across a group of 25 Maoists holding a meeting. On being asked by police to surrender, the Maoists opened fire and police retaliated.
Eight bodies, including four of women, were found after the gun battle.
Other Maoists, including Madhav, managed to escape.
Police recovered one AK-47 rife, three 303 rifles, three double-barrel guns, two single-barrel guns and eight kit bags.
Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen said that details like the identity of the slain Maoists were awaited.
He denied the accusation that police were in a killing game. "But the only way out for Maoists is to surrender their weapons. They can be well off and join the political mainstream by giving up violence," he said.