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Maoist leader Azad in custody

india Updated: Jun 02, 2011 21:00 IST

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Top Maoist leader Duna Keshav Rao alias Azad, wanted in several cases including the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, was taken into three-day custody by the Crime Branch of Orissa Police on Thursday.

"Azad will remain in police custody for 72 hours," Additional Director General and chief of Crime Branch Abhay said after Azad's custody was given by Nayagarh Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate P K Patra.

A charge sheet was filed against Azad and others on May 4 in the Saraswati murder case, he said.

Azad, arrested on Wednesday night for attack on an armoury and police station in Nayagarh district, has a murder case against him at Tumudibandha police station.

Orissa's number two guerilla Azad, is prime accused in the Saraswati killing case and separate attacks on Nayagarh armoury and R Udaygiri jail in 2006.

He surrended before the AP police on May 18.

Earlier Azad's close associate Runita Badamajhi alias Pramila was caught by the police here on May 8, Home Secretary U N Behera said.

Around 100 Maoists led by Azad attacked an armoury and police station in Nayagarh district on the night of February 15, 2008.

At least 14 police personnel and one civilian were killed in the incident.

Azad is a member of CPI (Maoist) Orissa State Organising Committee and has worked for the party for 20 years from 1991 to 2011.