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Mastermind of blast which killed 15 Maharashtra cops nabbed

Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), March 4 (IANS) In a huge victory for the security forces, dreaded Maoist Dinkar Gota – who masterminded the deadly Kurkheda attacks which killed 15 security personnel and one civilian in a mine-blast on May 1, 2019 – was nabbed in a police operation in this ultra-left rebel affected Maharashtra district on Wednesday.

Besides Gota, his partner and woman Maoist Sunanda Koreti was also nabbed in a special operation by the Gadchiroli police, said Superintendent of Police Shailesh Balkawade.

Gota was a DVC member and also responsible for the burning of 36 large vehicles at Dadapur in Kurkheda in May 2019, said Balkawade at a media briefing here.

He had joined the Maoist movement in 2005 with the Tippagad Dalam and later served with Korchhi, Dhanora and Chitgaon Dalams, and since 2016 was active as a DVC Member of north Gadchiroli division.

“He carried a reward of Rs 16 lakh on his head. Around 108 cases including 33 of murder have been lodged against him in various police stations. He was involved in the Markegaon encounter of 2009 and masterminded the Jambulkheda landmine blast as well as the 36 vehicle torching incidents,” Balkawade said.

Koreti, who became a rebel in 2009 and worked with the Korchhi Dalam, has 38 serious cases registered against her and a reward of Rs 2 lakh on her head, he added.

Charged with various sections of Indian Penal Code, UAPA and other acts, both the accused were produced before a district court which sent them to 14 days police custody.

The Gadchiroli police were on the lookout for Gota since September 2019 after they got a tip-off that he had left his Dalam along with Sunanda, said Balkawade in the presence of other top officers like Manish Kalwaniya, U. Sudarshana, Jaydatta Bhawar, and others.

So far, the Gadchiroli police have arrested eight persons in connection with the Jambulkheda blast which had shaken the security forces and the investigations were subsequently taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

This is the second major breakthrough for the Gadchiroli police in five days after a senior Maoist cadre Vikas Kolha surrendered along with his AK-47 rifle and live rounds on February 28.

–IANS

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