Calcutta, Sept. 4: West Midnapore police today said they had arrested Manoj Mahato during a “massive combing operation” in Jungle Mahal although the People’s Committee chief’s family had claimed yesterday that he had been picked up from his house.
The police had earlier denied having arrested Manoj, 21.
West Midnapore superintendent of police Manoj Verma said at a news conference today: “Yesterday and today, we carried out intense raids with the joint forces in parts of Goaltore, Lalboni, Salboni and Lalgarh. During one of the raids, we arrested Manoj Mahato from Kantapahari.”
Verma said a 9mm pistol and cartridges had been seized from Manoj. The SP added that another “senior Maoist leader”, Naba Kumar Mahato, had also been arrested from the same place.
Manoj’s mother Durga had told The Telegraph yesterday that a group of armed people, dressed in camouflage gear, had surrounded their Birkar home at 7am and taken away Manoj with them. Neighbour, too, had made the same claim.
The People’s Committee leader’s father, Kalipada, had claimed that Manoj had been taken to the CRPF camp at Kantapahari. Kalipada had said that when he went to the camp, he was told that Manoj had been taken to Midnapore town.
Verma denied these claims. “People have their individual claims about Manoj’s arrest but the fact is, he has been arrested following a raid,” he said.
The police said Manoj was wanted in at least seven cases relating to murder, sedition and arson.
Sources said Manoj could be charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.