MUMBAI: Top Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde was among the 26 Naxals killed in an encounter with police in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a senior police official said on Sunday.
The gun-battle took place on Saturday at Korchi in Mardintola forest area of the district, located over 900 km from Mumbai, when a C-60 police commando team was conducting a search operation, police earlier said.
The C-60 commandos, an elite wing of the police, had recovered bodies of 26 Naxals during a search after the encounter and Teltumbde, one of the wanted accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, was suspected to be among the dead.
“Teltumbde was among the 26 dead Naxals,” a senior state police official confirmed on Sunday.
The police also recovered 29 firearms from the spot, including nine 12 bore weapons, nine SLRs (self-loading rifles) and five AK-47 guns, another police official said.
The dead rebels included 20 males and six females.
A male and a female bodyguard of Teltumbde were also among those killed in the encounter, police said.
Milind Teltumbde, the brother of activist and scholar Anand Teltumbde, was carrying a reward of Rs 50 lakh on his head for his alleged involvement in violent activities against the state.
Anand Teltumbde had been arrested earlier in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case and is currently lodged at the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
As per a charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgar Parishad case, Milind Teltumbde was named as the ‘dreaded Maoist’, a top operative of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and declared as absconding.
He was allegedly involvement in the Naxal movement since 1996 and was on the radar of central and state security agencies for the last few years in the wake of his activities.
A witness of the NIA in the Elgar Parishad case in a statement claimed that Milind Teltumbde had lived in Dhammadeep Nagar at Ita Bhatti Chowk in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district.
The witness had claimed that Milind Teltumbde bought a property worth Rs 7 lakh under the name of an associate and stayed there between January 2017 and April 2018.
According to the NIA, Milind Teltumbde used several alias names like ‘Anil’, ‘Deepak’, ‘Sahyadri’ and ‘Comrade M’ while on the run.
On Saturday, four police personnel were also seriously injured in the action against Naxals in Gadchiroli, which lies on the border of Chhattisgarh, and were taken to Nagpur by a helicopter for treatment.