Jhargram/Midnapore (WB), Dec 9 (PTI) Joint forces searching for top Maoist leader Akash today fought a pitched battle with Naxals in the jungles of Jhargram in West Midnapore district leader. Police said the joint forces acting on a tip-off went to Borobari jungle, near Jhargram, early this morning in search of CPI(Maoist) West Bengal unit secretary Akash, considered the second-most important Maoist leader in the state after Kishenji As the joint forces approached the area, the Maoists opened fire. When the security personnel retaliated, the Maoists fled. A combing operation has been launched in the jungle that extends upto Jharkhand, the police said. Akash had demanded an inquiry by an independent body into the killing of Maoist Politburo leader Kishenji by security forces in the district on November 24.