Monday’s ‘botched’ operation in the forests of Aurangabad close to Jharkhand border that left 10 CRPF jawans dead, was carried out despite hostile weather, as the police and paramilitaries had ‘credible information’ about the presence there of top Maoist leader Arvindji alias Dev Kumar Singh and his group, along with some other Maoist leaders, official sources said.
“This killing of Prince, who was the body guard of Arvindji, indicates latter was present at the scene. Perhaps, the Maoists triggered the land mines blasts in panic after the killing of three of their cadres, as they found the commandoes encircling them”, said a senior police officer.
Arvindji, a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), carries a cash reward of `1 crore on his head and is wanted in Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
According to police sources, Arvind ji, 50 plus, does not keep well and has some kidney problems, but is still known for planning and executing many of the Maoists’ operations.
In November 2014 also, Arvindji had managed to flee from Latehar (Jharkhand), as the CRPF was engaged by another group to give him an opportunity to escape. Police said Arvindji was close to top Maoist leader Kishenji, who was killed by security forces in November 2011.
“Arvindji was involved in the attack on former Jharkhand Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari in 2011, which claimed the lives of 11 policemen. He was also involved in a landmine blast in Garhwa a year later, in which 14 security forces were killed,” sources said.
Police have picked up some suspects to find if more top cadres of Maoists were present at the site of the encounter on Monday. “Maoists cannot organize a meeting at any place without local support from some splinter groups or sympathisers. We are trying to find out who all were there. Jharkhand police is also cooperating in this regard,” they added.
Bihar DGP PK Thakur said, “We are trying to ascertain more facts through various sources. There is also report of a fourth man being hit by bullets, but we are yet to ascertain his identity.”