ANGUL: Combing operation has been intensified on the Angul-Deogarh border to smoke out Maoists who were injured in an exchange of fire with the police on Sunday. Maoist leader Sushil and his wife Sony were killed in the encounter that took place on the border on Sunday afternoon.
Angul SP Rajesh Pandit said eyewitnesses claim that one Maoist cadre was injured in the firing. “However, more cadres might have been injured as the intensity of firing from both the sides was very high. There were at least 10 armed cadres. Sony had emptied three magazines indicating that she fired more than 50 rounds of bullets at police before being gunned down,” said the SP.
Sushil, who headed the Kalinga Nagar Division of the CPI (Maoist), carried a reward of `25 lakh and is stated to be the “highest ranking” cadre to be neutralised in the State. He was a State Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) while his wife Sony alias Sindri Lingo was a Divisional Committee member and carried a reward of ` five lakh.
Sushil was also wanted by Angul Police for killing of a tribal villager, Samuel Bhadra last year suspecting him to be a police informer.
Angul industrial district was out of reach of the ultras till 2008 when some Maoists entered a village in the district from Keonjhar. Then, a series of Maoist violence like kidnapping and murder had taken place in Pallahara sub-division bordering Deogarh and Keonjhar.
In addition, Maoists tried to establish their second base in Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary where two encounters had taken place recently. Taking advantage of the thick vegetation that Satkosia offered, they found a safe haven in the sanctuary.
Earlier, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), North Central Range, Yatindra Koyal had revealed that Sambalpur-Deogarh-Sundargarh division of Maoists had made Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary its new transit route to operate between Kalahandi district and neighbouring Jharkhand.
Koyal said the killing of Sushil and Sony was a big success for Odisha Police and the intelligence wing. Their elimination will certainly break the backbone of the Maoist network in the region, he added.