Vikram, commander of the Chatgaon Naxal guerrilla squad, who operates along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, has emerged as a prime suspect in the blast that killed 13 CRPF personnel last month.
The police has also declared a cash reward to anyone who gives information about his whereabouts.
Thirteen personnel, including three sub-inspectors and 27 constables of the 192 batallion of the Central Reserve Police Force were injured after Naxals triggered a blast on their bus that was plying on an inter-state road in Dhanora Taluka, Gadchiroli district on March 27.
The vehicle was part of a fleet of CRPF vehicles that was going to Gatta village for a civilian programme to encourage interaction between villagers and police forces.
“Vikram is the head of the Naxal group that is active in that region and is the prime suspect in the case. We have declared a cash prize for information on his whereabouts,” Viresh Prabhu, superintendent of police, Gadchiroli confirmed, without divulging the amount of the reward.
According to sources, Vikram, along with a few of his cadre, had carried out a reconnaissance of the area before the blast. The sources said the landmine with an estimated 40 kg of explosive material was kept under a culvert. The daring daylight Naxal attack took place when CRPF chief K. Vijay Kumar was on a tour of Maharashtra and was in the Gadchiroli region.
The Gadchiroli police has registered a case in connection with the blast under at least eight sections, including 302 (murder) and 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) of the Indian Penal Code, along with sections of the Explosives Act, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Bombay Police Act.
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