NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) could soon file its maiden case against elusive CPI (Maoist) chief Muppalla Lakshman Rao alias Ganpathy. The agency is likely to book Ganpathy in the case against Central Technical Committee member Sadanala Ramkrishna, who was recently arrested from Kolkata.
NIA claims it has found evidence of Ganpathy’s involvement in the arms manufacturing conspiracy through independent witnesses, who were once part of the Maoist Central Committee (CC). This would also be one of the rare instances where an agency has found credible evidence, which it claims would stand legal scrutiny, against the CPI (Maoist) general secretary.
In most Naxal violence cases, where Ganpathy has been named as an accused, it has been because of him being the chief of the banned organization. NIA, which took over the arms manufacturing case in March, has charged Ramkrishna as being the chief architect of the Maoist arms manufacturing programme, where close to 6,000 low-cost rocket launchers are feared to have been indigenously assembled and transported to the jungles of Chhattisgarh. According to NIA sources, a team from the agency has been touring Kolkata, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to collect evidence against Ramakrishna and Ganpathy. An officer privy to investigation details said, “The agency has recorded statements of certain former Central Committee members who have given details with time and location of meetings that took place between Ramakrishna and Ganpathy where the latter first mooted the idea of manufacturing rocket launchers and asked Ramakrishna to set up the infrastructure for it.”
Sources said that Ramakrishna, who is believed to have succeeded slain Maoist leader Kishenji to oversee operations in eastern India, was in direct touch with Ganpathy.
The evidence against Ganpathy, said sources, was crucial since it is difficult to get legally tenable material against Maoist ideologues who never directly take part in any operation. “We have enough evidence against Ramakrishna as we have found parts of rocket launcher and money on him. Arrested accused often take Ganpathy’s name, but that’s not admissible in a court of law unless it’s a confession. Also, only naming Ganpathy on the basis of some Maoist propaganda material seized from an accused will eventually fall flat in court if and when Ganpathy is arrested. This is one of the prime reasons why many arrested ideologues get acquitted,” explained the official.