Kishenji, the elusive Maoist leader, might have been injured in a 12-hour-long gunbattle between the rebels and the security forces near Lalgarh, around 160 Km southwest of Kolkata.
A senior police official of West Midnapore, not willing to be quoted, informed that Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, was likely to be seriously injured in the exchange of fire that took place at the Hatishol forest close to Lakhanpur village, around 8 Km east of Lalgarh, since 6 am on Thursday.
"Our ground level sources at Lakhanpur have informed us that around 15 Maoists have died in the battle. While a section of informers said Kishenji suffered a bullet injury to his leg, another group said he might be dead. We can't be sure till we find the bodies," the officer said.
The 51-year-old Rao, CPI (Maoist) Politburo and Central Military Commission member, better known as Kishenji, is in charge of the eastern regional bureau for the Maoists.
The gunbattle started after the security forces were tipped off that a group of PLGA guerrillas and Maoist leaders had convened at the Hatishol forest, adjacent to Lakhanpur.
"The security forces reached the spot around 6 am and the gun battle started. It went on for nearly 12 hours," the senior cop said.
Lakhanpur, where the gunbattle took place on Thursday, was the place where Kishenji was reportedly cornered on October 22, when the rebel leader was to release Atindranath Dutta, the abducted Officer-in-Charge of Sankrail police station. It was at the same Hatishol forest where he met with media persons and formally released Dutta the same day.