At least 26 Maoists were killed on Saturday in an encounter with police in eastern Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. The district shares border with Chhattisgarh.
The gunbattle took place in the morning at Korchi in Mardintola forest area when a C-60 police commando team was conducting a search operation led by additional SP Soumya Munde, PTI reported.
Milind Teltumbde, a member of the Maoists’ central committee, was among the 26 killed.
Teltumbde was also the head of the newly formed MMC zone (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh confluence).
“After primary identification process, Teltumbde was one of the 26 Maoists killed in Saturday’s encounter,” Gadchiroli superintendent of police Ankit Goyal told Hindustan Times on Sunday.
Gadchiroli district Superintendent of Police Ankit Goyal said they had recovered the bodies of 26 Maoists so far from the forest. While the identity of the slain Naxals was yet to be ascertained, according to sources a top rebel leader was suspected to be among them.
Four police personnel were also seriously injured in the action and were taken to Nagpur by helicopter for treatment.
According to the police, many of them carried huge cash rewards on their heads, including Teltumbde who carried a bounty of Rs 50 lakh.
The dead included 20 males and six females, an official said, adding that 10 of them were yet to be identified. A male and a female bodyguard of Teltumbde were also among those killed in the encounter, police said.
Among the other killed rebels, Lokesh alias Mangu Podyam, commander of company no. 4 of Maoists, was carrying a bounty of Rs 20 lakh on his head, while Mahesh alias Shivaji Raoji Gota, who was the divisional committee member of Kasnasur Dalam, was carrying a bounty of Rs 16 lakh. Kishan alias Jaiman, commander of the Korchi Dalam, and Sannu alias Kovachi, commander of the Kasansur Dalam, were carrying rewards of Rs 8 lakh each on them.
Bhagat Singh alias Pradip alias Tilak Jade, the bodyguard of Teltumbde, was carrying a reward of Rs 6 lakh, while Prakash alias Sadhu Boga, Lacchu, the bodyguard of Naxalite Prabhakar, Navluram alias Dilip Tulavi, Bandu alias Dalsu Gota, Kosa alias Musakhi who was a member of company no. 4, and Pramod alias Dalpath Kachlami carried Rs 4 lakh cash rewards each on their heads, the official said. Besides, Chetan Pada, a new recruit in Tipagarh Dalam, carried a reward of Rs 2 lakh on him.
Among the female Naxals killed in the encounter, Vimla alias Manso Boga, who was the bodyguard of Milind Teltumbde, was carrying a cash reward of Rs 4 lakh reward on her head, the official said. The police also recovered 29 firearms from the spot, including nine 12 bore weapons, nine SLRs (self-loading rifles) and five AK-47 guns, another police official said.
(With Agency inputs)