RANCHI: In a major blow to Maoists, top 'commander' Devkumar Singh alias 'Arvindji' died on Wednesday due to a heart attack in Jharkhand. Reports suggest that there was one crore bounty on him. Arvind was considered a powerful Maoist leader in the area.
Official sources said the horse-riding Arvindji also known as Nishant was in his 50s and died early on Wednesday in the jungles of the Budha Pahad in Jharkhand, bordering Chhattisgarh.
The 'A category', most wanted Naxal leader was a member of the central committee of the banned CPI (Maoist) and carried a reward of Rs 1.5 crore on his head, declared by the police forces of Jharkhand and Bihar.
"We have reports to confirm that Arvindji is dead. It is understood that he suffered a heart attack today that claimed his life while he was in the Budha Pahar area," a senior security official said.
However, security agencies and police did not make an independent confirmation on the development.
They said the "well-educated and technology expert" Naxal leader was suffering from several diseases, including diabetes, and had his hand behind a number of killings and attacks on security forces including the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the state.
Arvindji, who hailed from Bihar's Jehanabad, was active in the Palamu, Garhwa and Chatra districts of Jharkhand that are hit by Left Wing Extremism (LWE).
Considered an expert in inter-district Naxal operations, security forces had found that Maoists from other states used to seek Arvindji's suggestions on operations against the forces and other tasks.
A police dossier said he was a "strategist and mastermind" of Naxal operations in Jharkhand for years.
The forces had reported Arvindji moving in the Budha Pahar area and other jungle patches in the state on horse back for years and several times he escaped by a whisker as security forces closed in on him.
Unconfirmed reports said his wife Prabhavati Devi left Jehanabad shortly after the reports of his death came in.
Arvindji's death, sources said, would further weaken the Maoist strength and morale in the state.
(With inputs from PTI )