Nilabur training: NIA gets three Maoists including master trainer in custody

Deepak was lodged in Central Jail at Jagdalpur in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh before being brought to Kochi following a directive of the NIA court.

Published: 05th November 2021 11:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2021 11:59 PM   |  A+A-

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For representational purpose | EPS

Express News Service

KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the case of Maoist armed training in Nilambur forest 2016 has received three accused persons, including the alleged master weapon trainer, in custody. The agency will be interrogating Chhattisgarh native Deepak, alias Chandru, who had trained several Maoist activists in jungle warfare and guerilla operations, for seven days after the NIA court here granted it his custody on Friday.

Other than Deepak, NIA has also got Karnataka natives Ramesh and Shoba in custody. Ramesh will be in the NIA custody for seven days while Shoba will be in custody for five days. Deepak was lodged in Central Jail at Jagdalpur in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh before being brought to Kochi following a directive of the NIA court. Similarly, Ramesh who hails from Koramangala in Bengaluru was brought to Kochi from Parappana Agrahara jail and Shoba hailing from Shimoga was transferred from Coimbatore Central Jail.

It was in September 2016 a Maoist group conducted armed training inside a forest around three kilometres away from Mundakadavu colony, Nilambur. In September 2017, a case in this regard was registered at Edakkara police station in Malappuram which was later transferred to Kerala Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). The state agency arrested and filed the chargesheet against five Maoist leaders while seven accused persons were killed in various encounters.

After taking over the probe this year, NIA has arraigned 25 persons as accused till now. According to sources, Deepak was an expert trainer and had trained the cadre in laying ambush which is a key part of guerilla warfare adopted by Maoists. He was entrusted with the CPI (Maoist) leadership to reinvigorate its activities in the forest of southern states by training the cadre. After the 2019 Attapadi encounter, Kerala police had recovered laptops and mobile phones from which the cops could find videos of Deepak training the cadre using an AK-47 rifle. Similarly, literature on ambush tactics was also seized. He was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police in November 2019. Shoba was arrested by ATS and she was about to be made an approver in the case when the NIA took over the probe. Ramesh had been active in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka forests.

While considering the custody application of the trio, the NIA counsel claimed that the Maoist training camp was part of a larger conspiracy and people from different parts of the country gathered at Nilambur. "If the game plan of this group is not exposed, there is imminent threat to the security of the state. There is a larger conspiracy behind the incident which has to be investigated," the counsel said.


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