In a major strike, the Odisha police killed a Maoist, said to be the deputy of top rebel leader Sabyasachi Panda, in an encounter in a forest in Gajapati district on Monday.
"The Maoist, Pradeep alias Gobinda Majhi, 25, was also the military in-charge of Odisha Maoist Party. It is a setback to Panda and the OMP," state director general of police Prakash Mishra told reporters here.
The police said Pradeep was involved in 46 attacks including the one on the Nayagarh district armoury in 2008, the ambulance blast in Kandhamal and the abduction of two Italian citizens in 2012. Hailing from Khadikapadar village in Rayagada district, Pradeep joined a students' body of the CPI (M) in 2003 when he was a class 8 student in a tribal school. He joined Panda when the then secretary of the Odisha state organising committee of the CPI(Maoist) broke away from the parent party and floated the OMP.