NIA files charges against Maoist chief Ganpathy

NEW DELHI: In what could prove to be clinching ‘evidence’ of CPI (Maoist) general secretary Mupalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganpathy’s complicity in Left-wing extremist violence across the country, the arms manufacturing units, which were busted by the West Bengal Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in March, were set up under his direct supervision.

The NIA, which filed a charge sheet against five people in its first case against CPI (Maoist) in special NIA court on Thursday, has mentioned the party chief as a wanted accused along with three other top leaders.

Investigations have revealed that the units assembled thousands of ‘low-cost but military-grade’ rocket launchers, at an expense of Rs 5 crore, in the past three years. The charge sheet also traces the history of arms manufacturing in CPI (Maoist) to 1990s and details how it is a part of the long-term plan of the party.

According to the charge sheet, the arms manufacturing units acted as a conduit to procure components for manufacturing launchers from various companies in Kolkata and Mumbai on the pretext of making boilers or other machines.

The chain of command included three top Maoist leaders, apart from the party’s technical committee chief Sadanala Ramkrishna, who is in judicial custody.

The charge sheet has been filed against five accused including Ramkrishna, Deepak Kumar Pargania, Sukumar Mandal, Bapi Mudi and Sambhu Charan, all arrested from Kolkata.

It also names five Maoist leaders, who are all on the run, as part of the conspiracy. Ganpathy, Central Committee members Nimbala Kesavan Rao alias Basavraj and Thipirri Tirupathy alias Devji, Central Technical Committee member B N Rao alias Prabhakar and Chhattisgarh area commander Sahdeo’s names figure in the charge sheet. Except Sahdeo, all the other leaders are from Andhra Pradesh, but operate in Chhattisgarh.

Charges have been pressed for setting up arms manufacturing units to produce sophisticated Army-grade rocket launchers. Ganpathy ordered setting up of these units during the party’s ninth congress.

Ramkrishna, an engineer from Warangal in AP, was entrusted with the responsibility to execute the plan.

“The Maoists had floated fake companies such as Century Fabricators or Durga Technical Pvt Ltd and procured components for manufacturing launchers,” said an official.

The components were sent to jungles of Abujmarh in Chhattisgarh, where Maoist cadres assembled and tested the weapons. Ganpathy, Devji and Basavraj placed orders for arms consignment. Prabhakar took care of the finances and followed up on the orders, while Sahdeo’s ensured the components reach inside the jungle.

Forensic examination of component parts of over 1,000 launchers seized by the NIA has confirmed that they were used for manufacturing military-grade launchers, and call detail records of the accused have established the trail of the chain of command from the jungles of Chhattisgarh to Kolkata and Mumbai. NIA has also seized designs of rocket launchers from Ramakrishna apart from China-made communication systems and cash worth Rs 96 lakh.

A Central Committee member is NIA’s key witness in the case, apart from various transporters and owners of component part companies who have recorded their statements.

Tracing the history of arms manufacturing in the party, the charge sheet says a conspiracy was hatched by the CPI (Maoist) — then known as CPI (ML) PW — around early 1990s to develop sophisticated arms and ammunition, including area weapons like rocket launchers, for use against the armed forces. Initially a Technical Development Committee (TDC) of Regional Committee status was formed by the CPI (ML) PW in 1994 to coordinate the technical units producing light articles outside the field/combat zone.

Ramakrishna was instrumental in formation of Technical Development Committee (TDC). As the TDC failed to coordinate the units and failed to work up to the expectations, to coordinate more effectively a state committee status body — Central Technical Committee (CTC) — was formed in July, 2001. CTC was renamed as Technical Research Arms Manufacturing Unit (TRAM) in 2005.

After the formation of CTC, technical units were established between 2002 and 2006 at several places like Pune, Rourkela, Indore, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar in close supervision and guidance of accused Sadula. Recoveries and arrest of CTC members had been made from Bhopal and Rourkela in January, 2007.

From 2008 onwards, Ramakrishna, using the alias of Swagat Kasturi, established CTC teams in Kolkata and in Thane and started procuring raw materials and finished components of weapons.

Sources said investigations were still on in the case and a supplementary charge sheet would be filed against four more accused arrested from Maharashtra.

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