Kolkata: A Maoist rebel, identified as a close aide of a guerrilla commander killed in a gunfight a day before, was arrested on Friday in West Bengal`s West Midnapore district, police said.
"Biju Mahato alias Pilot, who was a close associate of slain Sashadhar Mahato, was arrested on Friday," Additional Police Superintendent (operation) Mukesh Kumar said.
"Biju was present alongside Sashadhar during the gunfight in Jamboni area (Thursday). He, however, escaped and took shelter in an adjacent village. He was arrested during combing operations," Kumar told a news agency over phone.
"Biju has confirmed that the Maoist leader killed in the gunfight March 10 was Sashadhar," said Kumar.
Sashadhar, brother of arrested pro-Maoist People`s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) convener Chhattradhar Mahato, was the foremost organiser of the outlawed Maoists in West Midnapore district.
"On Friday morning, residents of Chansoro village revealed that Maoist commandant Sashadhar and his wife Suchitra had taken shelter in the house of Ramesh Hansda. The couple were stayed there for three days," said Kumar.
"We raided Ramesh`s house and recovered three bags containing firearms, ammunition, Maoist literature, dairies, letters and garments. But Ramesh is yet to be arrested,` said the officer.
Two small firearms and cartridges and bullets of several types of weapons were also recovered.
Sashadhar was accused in at least 70 cases of abduction, murder, loot, arson and sedition.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the Gyaneshwari Express sabotage, in which 148 people were killed, had announced a Rs 2 lakh reward for information about Sashadhar.