Maharahstra cops, NIA botch up probe in Maoists case

NEW DELHI: In yet another example of lack of coordination among various anti-terror agencies, a case registered against four Naxals by Maharashtra police has put the National Investigation Agency in a fix over its own investigations into the CPI (Maoist) arms manufacturing case.

The NIA had cracked the case with the arrest of CPI (Maoist) technical committee member Sadanala Ramkrishna by West Bengal police in March. In a coordinated operation, the Maharashtra ATS had arrested four of Ramkrishna’s associates, including senior Maoist leader Asim Kumar Bhattacharya, from Thane near Mumbai for assisting in arms manufacturing.

Interestingly, even as NIA prepared to take over the accused from Maharashtra police as it was the same module, the ATS handed them over to Gadchiroli police which booked them in a 2007 landmine blast case registered in Purada police station in the district.

The development has virtually ruled out the possibility of NIA taking over the Maharashtra case as both the cases are now distinct in nature. The agency has applied for custodial interrogation of the accused and will be provided their custody on July 2. The accused are lodged in Nagpur Central Jail.

“Only one of the four accused has been booked in connection with the arms manufacturing case. That too was thanks to Maharashtra police finding a cache of rocket launcher spare parts and a manufacturing unit in Raigad district of the state. Ideally, all the accused should have been booked in the case. That way, the NIA could do a seamless investigation after taking over the case,” said an official privy to the developments in the case.

The NIA will now have to interrogate the accused booked by Gadchiroli police, collect corroborative evidence and only then book them in their case.

The NIA had taken over the Ramakrishna case from Kolkata police in April and arrested four more alleged Maoists. The agency had found stockpiles of spare parts meant for manufacturing rocket launchers in Kolkata and other places. It had also found that Ramakrishna had shipped thousands of low-cost rocket launchers to Chhattisgarh.

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