NAGPUR: A senior woman Naxal cadre is likely to have played a key role behind the blast near Pustola in Dhanora Tehsil which claimed the lives of 13 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers on March 27.
The name of Indira, secretary of the Chatgaon area committee, is doing the rounds for her alleged involvement in masterminding the blast along with senior colleague Vikram, who is a commander of the Chatgaon Local Guerilla Squad.
Police said that members of the Chatgaon dalam were behind the blast. A section of the security forces also claimed that a platoon (a small unit) along with the Chatgaon dalam may have executed the blast.
TOI has learnt that Indira, a native of Chhattisgarh, could have triggered the blast given her good technical skills and experience with various platoons.
Those arrested so far said that Indira planned the blast while Vikram did a recce of the area before the plan was put in place. The naxals had already triggered two major blasts on the same vulnerable stretch.
Before the latest incident, a woman Naxal cadre’s role in the Markegaon incident in which 15 policemen died and the Laheri attack where 17 security personnel were killed in 2009, came to the forefront.
Last year at Makadchuha, it was the solo fight of commander Rajitha of Chatgaon dalam which had kept the CRPF, COBRA and C-60 commandos at bay for several hours. Her body was retrieved later.
Apart from Indira, the police have come across several names of the other women who aided the dalam in the blast. A senior official of Gadchiroli police said that even the minutest information is being verified before any arrests or detentions are made.
Police have already arrested 11 persons in connection with the blast. Two arrests were made from Pakhanjur in Chhattisgarh from where batteries were used for the blast.
Sources said that the improvised explosive device (IED) could have been used on the road between Karwafa and Phulbodi Gatta on the night of March 23. The IED was planted a day before the three-day civic action programme of the CRPF was to kick-off at Phulbodi-Gatta where the troopers were heading in the minibus which was blown up.
Police are now probing whether the Naxals knew about the CRPF’s plan in advance.