Key Maoist leader held? Cops say no

PADERU: One of the key members in the Maoist east division committee, K Gopi alias Azad alias Damodar was reportedly arrested by police here.

But Visakhapatnam rural SP G Srinivas denied the reports and said no Maoist leader is in their custody. Sources said Azad, an action team member, was nabbed by the police when he came over ground recently to plan a major assault.

Srinivas said that following reports of suspicious Maoist movements, they intensified vehicle checking in the agency areas.

However, state civil leaders committee members alleged that the police took Azad into custody a week ago when seven Maoists were arrested at Cheepurugondi. “They showed the arrest of six Maoists and a few tribals but not Azad,” an APCLC leader alleged.

They said Azad’s life is in danger as the cops were not revealing his whereabouts. However, police said Azad had escaped from Cheepurugondi. Azad, brother of Koraput and Srikakulam division top leader Aruna, was arrested six years ago by the Vizianagaram police when he was carrying wireless sets for Maoists.

Subsequently, his sister Jansi, an activist in Visakhapatnam, and his father Lakshmana Rao were arrested at Karkavanipalem. After coming out from the prison on bail, Azad went underground and joined the Galikonda area committee.

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