The security forces on Monday gunned down three hardcore Maoists and arrested one of them during a six-hour encounter in the dense forests Rohtas district of Bihar.
The combined team of the Bihar police and CRPF suffered no casualties, however.
The security forces claimed to have recovered arms, ammunition, can bombs, land mines and detonators from the encounter spot, about 90 km south-west of district headquarters in Sasaram and 250 km south-west of Patna.
The slain Maoists were identified as Kashi Kol of Sonbhadra (UP), a commander of the armed squad; Guddu of Garhwa district in Jharkhand; and Santosh Yadav, also of the same district.
The arrested ultra was identified as Sushil Chaudhary of Rohtas district, said superintendent of police (SP) Manu Maharaj, who led the operation.
Kashi Kol was wanted in several red-violence cases in Bihar, Jharkhand and UP, and had been recently given charge of the Kaimur plateau area, bordering Uttar Pradesh, to reorganise the CPI(Maoist), which is in disarray due to pressure from the security forces of UP, Jharkhand and Bihar.
Maharaj said the district police and CoBRA, a CRPF unit, received information that the Maoists were gathering to ambush the security forces.
The SP, along with CoBRA battalion assistant commandant TN Singh and SHO Arun Kumar Akela, reached the place and positioned themselves for a counter ambush. The Maoists, who had been hemmed in, opened fire and the police retaliation began at 6.30am. After six hours of gunfire, intermittently heavy, the reds became quiet at about 12.30pm. Subsequently the bodies of the dead were found and the injured squad member was arrested.