A day after they were kidnapped by Maoists following a daring ambush, the bullet-riddled bodies of Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh were found along with eight others in the Jiram valley of Bastar in the state on Sunday, taking the toll in the Naxal attack on a convoy of Congress leaders at Darbha, 400 km south of Raipur, to 27.
The bodies were spotted close to the place where around 250 armed Maoists had attacked the Congress leaders, killing party leader and Salwa Judum leading activist Mahendra Karma and former party legislator Uday Kumar Mudaliar and injuring former union minister V C Shukla, when they were returning to Jagdalpur from Sukma.
Chhattisgarh Congress spokesperson Rajesh Bissa was quoted by TV channels as saying the bodies of Patel and his son had been found.
In a late night development, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the probe into the attack will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency.
State Director General of Police Ram Niwas said 32 persons had also been injured in the attack. A search operation was currently underway to locate those missing after the Maoist attack on Saturday, but the efforts were being hampered by heavy rains in the area.
A seriously injured Shukla was airlifted from Raipur to a private hospital in Gurgaon on the outskirts of the national capital. Doctors attending on the 84-year-old Congress leader said his condition was critical. Shukla had earlier undergone surgery to remove three bullets from his body.
The Maoists had targeted opposition Congress’ Parivartan Yatra launched on April 12, ahead of Assembly elections this year-end. The visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to Jagdalpur has been cancelled.