Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: NIA begins probe, Antony rules out Army role



Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A high-level team of officials of anti-terror agency NIA on Monday reached the deadly Naxal attack site in Chhattisgarh and began its probe to find out possible lapses on the part of the central forces or the state government.

Ahead of its arrival, Minister of State for Home RPN Singh told reporters, “Action will be taken if anyone is found guilty.”

"We have asked the NIA to investigate the Maoist attack. Security lapses could have taken place. Any lapse on the part of central forces or the state government, buck will have to be stopped somewhere. We have to take action," he said.

Asked whether the mastermind of Saturday's attack on Congress workers has been identified, Singh said it was too early to say that and any conclusion could be reached only when the probe is completed.

The Centre has already deployed 30 battalion (approximately 30,000 personnel) in Chhattisgarh to help the state government carry out anti-Naxal operations.

Earlier, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said an official order formally handing over the case to NIA to carry out the investigation would be issued soon.

"We will issue the order of NIA probe. The NIA team will also go to Chhattisgarh today," he told reporters here.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had yesterday said that NIA will probe the Maoist attack on Congress leaders and the Centre has received a go-ahead from Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for it.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state's Bastar district, killing 27 people including PCC chief Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 32 others, including former Union Minister V C Shukla.

The final rites of Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh, who were killed in the Naxal attack on Saturday, were performed with state honours at their native village Nandeli in Raigarh district today.

Patel's younger son Umesh performed the rites, in the presence of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Raman Singh and a host of other leaders.

The funeral procession started from the family's house in Nandeli and converged at a place on the outskirts of the village where Nand Kumar's parents had been cremated years ago.

Thousands of villagers from the region took part in the procession, raising "long live Nand Kumar" and anti-state government slogans.

Apart from the Chief Minister and Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Assembly Ravindra Choubey, Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh, Madhya Pradesh Congress Chief Kantilal Bhuriya, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, other cabinet ministers and several senior Congress leaders were present.

Patel and his elder son Dinesh were killed when heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Bastar district on Saturday, killing 27 people and injuring 37.

With the recovery of the bodies, the toll in the lethal Maoist attack on a convoy of Congress leaders, has climbed to 27, according to police sources.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister AK Antony today ruled out the deployment of Army in Naxal-hit states even as the Centre rushed 2,000 additional paramilitary force personnel to Chhattisgarh.

“There is no proposal on Army joining anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh, but we will extend all support to State and para-military forces,” Antony said.

With PTI inputs