Jhargram: In a major success, joint
forces today shot dead Maoist-backed PCPA leader Umakanta
Mahato, a prime suspect in the Jnaneswari train mishap case,
while bodies of three kidnapped CPI-M supporters were
recovered from West Midnapore district.
Acting on a tip-off from local people that Mahato,
carrying a reward of Rs one lakh on his head announced by CBI,
was hiding with a squad at Mohanpur near Lodhasuli jungle, the
joint forces comprising CRPF, CoBRA and police personnel
surrounded the area at around 1 am, police sources said.
When a cornered Mahto and his squad opened fire, the
joint forces led by Additional Joint Superintendent of Police
Mukesh Kumar retaliated, with the encounter carrying on till
around 5 am, they said.
When the firing ceased, the joint forces entered the
forested area and found the body of Mahato. A motorcycle, a
mobile phone and a 9 mm pistol were found near the body, they
Jhargram SP Pravin Tripathy said the operation was a
major success as Mahto had been absconding since the
announcement of the Rs one lakh reward on his head by the CBI
which is investigating the May 28 Jnaneswari Express disaster,
which left 148 passengers dead.
Tripathy said the pistol found near Mahto`s body
belonged to a police sub-inspector Chinmoy Maiti which was
snatched away by Maoists when they attacked him in 2008 near a
papermill more in Jhargram town.
Maiti was fatally injured in the attack.
He said that 10 people who acted as Maoist informers
and gave information about the movement of the joint forces
had been arrested earlier so they could not tip off the
PCPA spokesman Asit Mahto, who took over the reins of
the Maoist-backed People`s Committee Against Police Atrocities
(PCPA), after the arrest on September 26 last year of its
Convenor Chhatradhar Mahto, and also carrying a reward of Rs
one lakh on his head, was the only other wanted person in the
case, still at large.
Senior PCPA leader, Bapi Mahto, who also had the same
reward against his head was arrested earlier from a guesthouse
near Jamshedpur in Jharkhand on June 20.
Meanwhile, the bullet-riddled bodies of three CPI-M
supporters, who were abducted last night by Maoists were found
from near a pond at Ladabhora area today, police sources said.
The victims were identified as Gopal Mistri, his son
Rajiv and nephew Tapan.