Kolkata: West Bengal Police`s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Saturday began a probe into the allegations that senior Maoist leader Mallojula Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji was killed by the security forces in a staged shootout, a top official said.
"Yes, a probe has been initiated. Whenever any high-profile criminal is killed in an encounter, such allegations do come up. So, we will investigate all the angles to find out if there is any truth behind the allegations," Deputy Inspector General (CID) K Jayaraman told a news agency.
Telegu revolutionary poet and Maoist sympathiser P Varavara Rao has alleged that Kishenji was "brutally tortured" in police custody before being killed in a "fake encounter" in the jungles of West Midnapore Thursday.
"He was arrested day before Thursday. They cut him, burnt him, and then pumped bullets into him. There isn`t a single part of his body without an injury. They kept him in custody for 24 hours and tortured him," Rao alleged.
The slain Maoist leader`s niece Deepa Rao also echoed the views of the poet with whom she had come to the Midnapore Medical College and Hospital in West Midnapore to identify the body and take it back, after the post-mortem examination, to his home in Pedapalli in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh for the last rites.
The Maoists have called for a 48-hour shutdown to protest the death of their leader in a "staged encounter".
Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh has also alleged the gunfight was not genuine.
"The way reports of Kishenji`s killings have come out, it does not look like Kishenji was killed in an encounter...It is a fake encounter," he said Saturday.
Security agencies have said that Kishenji, a Communist Party of India-Maoist politburo member, died in a firefight Thursday afternoon in West Midnapore district`s Burishole, 10 km from the border with Jharkhand.
Suchitra, widow of Maoist leader Sashadhar Mahato - killed in March in a gun battle with the security forces - was accompanying Kishenji. She is believed to have been injured in the gunfight but managed to escape.