Bodies of CRPF men killed by Maoists ‘not mutilated’, NIA may take over probe
National Investigation Agency may be roped in for a more thorough investigation as government vows to hit back at the militantsindia Updated: May 18, 2017 07:57 IST
A two-member team of home ministry’s senior security advisor K Vijay Kumar and acting CRPF chief Sudeep Lakhtakia told the government on Thursday that there was no evidence that the bodies of the CRPF personnel killed in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh on Monday were mutilated.
The government also dispatched National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar to Sukma — where an ambush by the militants claimed the lives of 25 troopers — possibly paving way for an investigation to be handed over to the National Investigation Agency.
“I can, with all authority at my command, say that none of the dead bodies of the CRPF personnel were found to mutilated. We checked with the doctors also who conducted postmortem of the dead bodies,” said Sudeep Lakhtakia after meeting Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to give his preliminary report on the incident.
Later in the day, Maoists condemned media reports alleging mutilation of the bodies of CRPF troopers.
“We have not mutilated any body and the latest Chintagufa attack was in continuity of the killing of 11 CRPF jawans in Sukma’s Bhejji area,” spokesperson of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist) Vikalp, said to the media in an audio clip which was purportedly released by the party from its stronghold in Sukma.
Reports about the mutilation of the troopers’ bodies had surfaced after some of the members of the rescue team which rushed to the spot after the ambush, said they had seen mutilated bodies at the spot.
Following the home ministry meeting in Delhi, a senior official said it is likely that the NIA will be pressed into service to probe the attack.
“Earlier too we have given probes into Maoist attacks to the NIA. It can be done again for speedy identification of the perpetrators of the attack in order to bring them to justice,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The home ministry will receive the final report on the Sukma attack from the CRPF within a week.
K Vijay Kumar, who along with Sudeep Lakhtakia returned to the national capital on Thursday morning after spending two days at ground-zero, said the CRPF personnel deployed there were showing signs of fatigue.
“Initial examination suggests that the CRPF personnel retaliated the attack in equal amount. It was not a one-sided exchange of fire but most of the personnel have been deployed there for more than three years. The deployment in Sukma is highly stressful, which ultimately leads to lack of motivation and possibility of non-adherence to standard-operating-procedure. But again, this is my preliminary opinion,” said K Vijay Kumar.
According to government figures, 2017 has seen 32 Maoists killed while the CRPF has lost 38 personnel in Chhattisgarh.
The central government has been trying to boost the morale of the forces by providing them necessary infrastructure and logistics for anti-Maoist operations, Kumar and Lakhtakia said.
Around 45,000 central paramilitary personnel and 20,000 state policemen have been deployed in Bastar region, which saw the maximum Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh.
(With inputs from Ritesh Mishra and S Kareemuddin in Sukma)