It seems the ultras were caught off-guard as they failed to anticipate that security forces would ever ambush them in the wee hours and that too in their stronghold of the forest, the officer said.
Six Naxals, including two women cadres, were killed in an encounter with elite C-60 anti-Naxal commandos in the wee hours on January 19 in the forests near Govindgaon village in Aheri taluka of the district, about 200 km from Nagpur, in south eastern Vidarbha.
"It was locally planned and well-coordinated operation chalked out on the concrete leads", Additional SP (Pranhita police division) Rahul Shrirame told a select group of reporters this afternoon.
Sharing details of the midnight swoop, Shrirame said "we had dispatched 56 jawans (two companies) of C-60 Commando Force. They reached outside Govindgaon at around 12.30 am. We surrounded the village as Naxals were holding a meeting there".
He said the Reds, who were 12 in number, had dinner and were leaving the village when they noticed the movement of the jawans and started firing upon them.
"Our people also took up their positions and returned the fire, resulting in the death of six of the Naxals while the rest fled from the spot", the Additional SP said.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters here, some villagers claimed the police first opened fire on the Naxals when they were leaving after having dinner.
"Had there been any delay on the part of the police in opening fire, the situation could have been different...Naxals could not even get time to fire upon the police", they said on condition of anonymity.
However, Shrirame countered this by insisting that the police retaliated only after Naxals opened fire.
The Additional SP said that so far family members of two
out of six ultras killed in the encounter have come forward to claim their bodies.
"The bodies of the slain ultras will be preserved in Gadchiroli hospital for the next five days before they are disposed of", he added.
Meanwhile, a special meeting was held at Pranhita headquarters today to congratulate the jawans who had participated in the operation.
Gadchiroli: Security forces, who killed six Maoists near a village in east Maharashtra yesterday, outwitted the Naxals in their own game in the midnight operation, a top officer said on Monday.
First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 00:18