Within hours of taking over the case, NIA on Monday dispatched a team to Chhattisgarh and began its probe into the audacious Maoist strike on Saturday that left 27 people including senior Congress leaders dead.
As reports emerged that Maoist politburo member Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand was the mastermind behind the attack, the National Investigation Agency team flew to Raipur on way to Darbha in Bastar district.
The NIA team, headed by Inspector General of Police Sanjiv Kumar Singh, will investigate the circumstances leading to the attack and find out those Maoists who were involved in it, official sources said.
The central investigators have taken over the case registered in Darbha police station under various sections of IPC, Arms Act, Explosive Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had announced yesterday that NIA will conduct the investigation and the formal order of handing over the case to the probe agency was issued today.
27 people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma were killed and 32 others, including former Union Minister V C Shukla, were injured in Saturday's incident.
Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said investigation will be conducted to find out possible lapses on the part of the central forces or the state government and action will be taken if anyone is found guilty.
"Any lapse on the part of central forces or the state government, buck will have to be stopped somewhere. We have to take action," he said.
Asked whether the mastermind of Saturday's attack on Congress workers has been identified, the minister said it was too early to say that and any conclusion could be reached only when the probe is completed.
Sources said Anand, who is very active in Bastar region, is suspected to be mastermind of the strike and led the Naxal group that attacked the convoy of the Congress leaders.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh, Director of Intelligence Bureau Syed Asif Ibrahim and other senior Central officials will visit Chhattisgarh tomorrow to review the situation there.
Sources said the team will hold meeting with state government officials how to engage the security forces in a better way to tackle the Maoists menace with the involvement of neighbouring states.
The Centre has already deployed 30 battalion (approximately 30,000 personnel) in Chhattisgarh to help the state government carry out anti-Naxal operations.
Sources said of the 27 people killed by the Naxals, 11 were Congress leaders and workers, eight were security personnel and five were drivers or ordinary labourers who were travelling in a truck at that time.