A CPI (Maoist) North Gadchiroli Divisional Committee member, wanted in around 200 criminal cases, was arrested from the jungle of the Songudda area in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district, close to Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
Guha Uike alias Dilip, 38, carried a reward of around Rs 35 lakh including Rs 16 lakh announced by the Maharashtra police, Rs 8 lakh announced by the Chhattisgarh police, and Rs 3 lakh announced by the Madhya Pradesh police, MP Additional Director General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) C B Muniraju told PTI.
He was an accused in 19 killings and 29 attempts to murder cases in Balaghat district alone, the police official said.
Muniraju said that based on a tip-off, the police arrested Uike from the jungles after a brief exchange of fire with the insurgents who opened fire at a police team.
The “Maoist” leader has been remanded in a 12-day police custody.
According to the police, a tip-off was received by them that Dilip was seen in the jungles of Songudda on May 20. Accompanied by armed rebels, Dilip was in plain clothes. Another version said he had come to attend a wedding at a village.
Balaghat is the only district in MP that the Centre recognises as Maoist-affected, while the state government maintains the Naxals are present in many other districts.
Balaghat SP Gaurav Tiwari told The Indian Express that Dilip was in touch with key Naxal leaders in Gadchiroli, Gondia and Rajnandgaon, and had information about all major attacks carried out by the left-wing extremists. He also had information about attacks in which he was not directly involved, like the murder of Congress minister Likhiram Kaware in 1999, the official said.
After apprehending Dilip, the police chose not to take the same route back to Songudda chowki, about six-seven km away, fearing landmines. They took a circuitous route over 22 km and returned on Thursday evening, the SP said, adding, Dilip used to stay in contact with key Maoists Kopa and Kobad Ghandy.
Born in Mate village, Dilip allegedly joined Malajkhand Dalam when he was 16. He married Varsha in 2005 and the couple lived together for five years. The police said currently he was associated with Sangeeta, a Dalam member from Rashimeta village.