Top Maoist leader not in our custody, Andhra cops tell HC

Hyderabad, Nov 3 (IANS) The suspense over the whereabouts of top Maoist leader Ramakrishna continues as Andhra Pradesh Police on Thursday told the Hyderabad High Court that he is not in their custody.

Police said this in a counter-affidavit filed as per the direction of the court, which was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Kandula Sirisha, wife of Ramakrishna, a Central Committee member of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

Sirisha alleged that police took Ramakrishna, popularly known as R.K., into custody during a joint operation along with Odisha Police on the Andhra-Odisha border.

She had sought a direction to police to produce R.K. in the court.

Visakhapatnam (Rural) Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma, in the counter-affidavit informed the court that there are 40 criminal cases pending against R.K., who is also the incharge of CPI-Maoist in the Andhra-Odisha border area.

The division bench asked the petitioner if she has evidence of her husband being in police custody. To this, the petitioner sought 10 days’ time to prove her charge.

The bench comprising Justice C.V. Nagarjuna and Justice M.S.K. Jaiswal adjourned the hearing by two weeks.

As many as 30 Maoists were killed in a series of alleged gun battles with Andhra and Odisha Police last week in Malkangiri district of Odisha.

The Maoist group alleged that it was a ‘covert’ operation by police during which many leaders including R.K. were arrested.

Sirisha’s counsel V. Raghunath said the police affidavit is a ‘pack of lies’. He said police failed to respond to the points raised in the affidavit.

Revolutionary writer and Maoist sympathiser Varavara Rao said they received the information that R.K. was injured in the police operation.

Son of R.K., Munna (23), was among 24 Maoists killed in the joint operation by Andhra’s elite anti-Maoist force Greyhounds and Odisha police on October 24.

Six more Maoists were killed in two subsequent alleged exchanges of fire in the same region.

The CPI-Maoist alleged that police attacked Maoists who were holding the meeting. It claimed that police arrested its cadre and later killed them in cold blood.

Police have denied the allegation and claimed that it fired in self-defence after Maoists refused to surrender and opened fire, killing a Greyhounds constable and injuring another.