Was Naxal mastermind Milind Teltumbde in city?

NAGPUR: Intelligence agencies were on high alert following an input that Milind Teltumbde, secretary of the Maharashtra Rajya State Committee ( MRSC) of banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), had come to a city hospital for treatment. Teltumbde is learnt to have halted in city before heading to Amravati last week.

With most of the top Naxal cadres already under arrest, the intelligence and security agencies are desperate to trap Teltumbde to deliver a final blow to the movement in the state. Teltumbde’s wife Angela Sontakke, secretary of Western Maharashtra Rajya State Committee and member of MSRC, was arrested in April last year from Pune along with another.

Sources from security agencies claimed that inputs about Teltumbde’s whereabouts are often received as he is constantly under scanner. Often through cell phone details and tower locations the security agencies have managed to find the details about his movements but nothing has materialized so far.

City police’s special branch, local unit of state anti-terrorist squad, state intelligence department and other central agencies were on toes last week following an information that Teltumbde may be present in city. Watch was kept on certain people and their home. Some private clinics and hospitals, bus stops and railway stations were also kept under surveillance, it is learnt.

The agencies are learnt to have visited several dens of the Naxals unearthing their locations in city and from the documents found with Angela and also from the details gleaned from the custodial interrogation of the arrested cadres. It is learnt that Teltumbde had shifted to forests in north Gadchiroli, Gondia and Balaghat division, after arrest of his wife. Despite his falling health, he had to take cover of forests as security agencies had launched a manhunt for him.

Even assistance of neighbouring states was sought to nab Teltumbde who was staying under different identities. The agencies were receiving inputs about Teltumbde’s location in adjoining states like Madhya Pradesh too. The rebel movement in the state had weakened between 2009 and 2011 following arrest of leaders like Vernon Gonsalves, Shreedhar Shrinivasan and other state-based top cadres. While the guerrillas were finding success against the security forces in their forested strongholds, the movement was fast disappearing from urban centres. “If Teltumbde is arrested, it will mean end of any chance of revival of movement,” said an official from security agencies.

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