In a major breakthrough, the Orissa police on Monday arrested two hardcore Maoists, including an alleged mastermind in the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati. Ashutosh Soren and Atul alias Rajiv Yadav were arrested on a tip off when they were driving back to Jharkhand from Saranda forests, Superintendent of Police Santosh Bala said.
Asutosh, a key member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), is the military head for Orissa, Jharkhand and parts of Chhattisgarh. He is alleged to be the mastermind of the murders of Swami Laxmanananda in Phulbani district of Orissa and Anup Marandi, son of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi.
“His special focus was Orissa. Asutosh is probably the most important Maoist leader to have been arrested by the police in Orissa,” Rourkela SP Santosh Bala told HT.
Declining to divulge more details on the circumstances leading to his arrest, Bala said Asutosh had confessed his involvement in almost all major Maoist operations in Orissa and Jharkhand. In Orissa, besides Laxmanananda’s murder, he masterminded the Nayagarh operation, in which several policemen were killed. He also planned the looting of the armoury of Bargarh district, which did not materialise.
In Jharkhand, he is alleged to be involved murders of several influential persons, including Anup Marandi, former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi’s son, former JD(U) MLA R.S. Munda and Pramod Kumar, a DSP with Jharkhand Police.