A high-level team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reached Raipur on Monday to probe the audacious attack on a convoy of Congress leaders in Darbha Ghat on Saturday that left 27 dead. Speaking to Express, state Home Secretary N K Aswal said the NIA sleuths will visit the ambush site on Tuesday morning and the state government has promised to extend all support in the investigative process.
“We will provide all support to the NIA team. The state government has already announced a judicial probe in the incident. Chief Minister Raman Singh has requested the Chief Justice of the High Court to appoint a judge for the judicial inquiry,” Aswal said.
While giving details of Saturday’s ambush, a senior official said Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma was beaten to death before being shot by the Maoists. His body was open and had sharp blade and baton wounds, the official said.
“The Maoists were carrying wireless sets and were looking for Karma when they spotted Kawasi Lakma. Darbha Ghat local Naxal commander Vinod asked Lakma about leaders in the convoy. Vinod was speaking in Gondi and asked Naxalites present on the site to look for Karma and Nand Kumar Patel,” the official said.
Sources said top Maoist leaders Gaganna, K Sudarshan alias Anand and Surendra were also spotted in the area. “An intelligence alert about Gaganna’s movement was sent to the government but there was no UAV deployment to provide technical intelligence about the Maoists’ movement.”
Approximately 100 armed Maoists with 200 Jan Militia carried out the ambush. A team of Maoists was spotted in Alangnaar, a village 10 km away from the attack site late on Sunday night, sources said after the vicious attack.
“There was intelligence input on a huge gathering of Maoists in that area on Sunday night where Maoists and Jan Militia were said to have organised a celebration,” a source said.
Despite the bloodbath in Chhattisgarh, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, responsible for internal security in the country, is missing in action.
Shinde, who was on an official visit to the US from May 19 to May 22 decided to extend it and is likely to return only on May 30. Sources said the entire delegation has returned but Shinde decided to extend his visit to meet family members. In his absence, Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh is holding fort. He had earlier called for action against those found guilty for security lapses in the incident.
“We have asked the NIA to investigate the Maoist attack. Security lapses could have taken place. Any lapse on the part of the central forces or the state government, buck will have to be stopped somewhere. We have to take action,” Singh said.