VIJAYAWADA: Procurement and transportation of essential commodities coupled with intelligence inputs had helped the police in pin-pointing the location of the Maoists in the dense forests of Malkangiri. The fog is also learnt to have played a part, but the highly-trained anti-Naxal force, Greyhounds, reportedly took advantage of it and moved forward in perfect coordination with the Odisha police.
Highly-placed sources told Express that following the encounter in which Maoist leader Azad was killed in May this year, the police had seized a laptop. “It was this laptop that provided crucial information about future plenary sessions as well as the latest photographs of some top Maoist leaders,” they said.
A few surrendered Maoists are learnt to have played a crucial role after coming under pressure from the police to decrypt information available on the laptop and give inputs on the movement of top Maoists. “We received intelligence information that the Maoists were convening a meeting along the AOB. Immediately, we alerted our network who in turn found that a huge quantity of supplies including rice, dal, oil and other essentials were being procured from local vendors. This confirmed our suspicions,” a police official told Express.
In the meanwhile, the police had also splashed posters of top Maoist leaders, whose photographs they retrieved from the laptop, in the Agency mandals along the AOB.
After obtaining permission from higher officials on Friday, a Greyhounds team had kickstarted combing operation in the Agency area. They came in contact with the first group of Maoists on Sunday evening where there was an exchange of fire. But the Maoists took advantage of the thick fog and vanished.
The information was shared with the Odisha police as well as the AP police who in turn devised a plan to sandwich the Maoists by surrounding the area. The police claimed that with no room to escape, the Maoists started firing at them despite repeated warnings to surrender. “It was a joint operation and this time, we took advantage of the fog and started firing,” the officer said. Only after the dawn, the police could start searching for the Maoists and 24 bodies were found. The police sources confirmed the presence of top leader Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna at the encounter spot. The police suspect that the slain Maoists gave cover to Ramakrishna.