In a major breakthrough, the joint forces today killed top-ranking Maoist leader Sasadhar Mahato and arrested a person at Kapgari in the Jamboni police station area in West Midnapore district.
"Top-ranking Maoist leader Sasadhar Mahato has been killed in an encounter and one AK 47 rifle has been recovered from him at Binpur under Jhargram police station," IG (CRPF), T B Rao told PTI.
Rao said one more person has been arrested, but his identity is not yet known and that the encounter and search operation is still going on.
Rao could not say if anyone was injured in the encounter.
Sasadhar, brother of imprisoned PCPA convenor Chattradhar Mahato, is suspected to be behind major Maoist attacks in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts and has been linked to the Jnaneswari train accident in which 149 people had lost their lives.
Sasadhar, a close aide of Maoist leader Kishenji, is also considered to the mastermind behind the attack on a Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp at Silda in West Midnapore district in which 24 jawans were killed.
A state committee member and spokesperson of the Bihar-Jharkhand-Orissa regional committee of the Maoists, Sasadhar carried a reward of Rs two lakh on his head.
Mahato was also responsible for organising and mobilising youth in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.