The security forces in Lalgarh are on alert following the intelligence break that Maoist squad leader Suchitra Mahato is already in Lalgarh, 3 days ahead of May 10 polls.
On Friday night, a team of more than 100 police and paramilitary force missed Mahato by a whisker in Purnapani village, about 7 km from Lalgarh.
"We came to know that Mahato reached Purnapani village around 4:30 in the evening. And she left the place around 11:30 pm. The security force raided the village at midnight by which time she escaped," said an officer of the joint forces.
Mahato is the wife of Maoist state committee member and tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato's younger brother Sasadhar Mahato-who was killed near Jhargram during an encounter with the security forces in March this year. She used to operate in Binpur, which is on the other side of the Kangsabati River opposite Lalgarh.
The sleuths are apprehending that Mahato, a specialist in ambush, is planning to carry out a strike either on a local CPI(M) leader in and around Lalgarh or on the joint forces.
Though Mahato escaped from Purnapani village, police nabbed two important members of a Maoist squad along with 6 locals. A cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered in addition to the admission that the woman rebel had sneaked into the village.
Mahato will not lead an attack on voters as rebel leader Kishenji had already issued a statement that the Maoists will not stop people from voting. However, sleuths are apprehending that the Mahato may have a plan to kill a key CPI(M) leader prior to the polls in Jangalmahal so that Marxist supporters panic and not come out to vote.
"Mahato may also target security personnel near vulnerable polling booths thus taking revenge of her husband's death," said an officer. The police have drawn up a list of vulnerable booths, where Mahato may strike and includes Saontal-Dhanshola, Benachapra, Shaluka and Gadra.