Slain ultras' link to C'garh attack under NIA scanner

Agency initiates probe following Odisha DG claim

A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will soon visit Odisha’s Malkangiri district to ascertain whether the 13 Maoists killed on last Saturday were involved in the Darbha valley attack in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh in May.

The NIA is probing the Chhattisgarh bloodbath in which the entire top leadership of the state Congress was wiped out by the Maoists.

“A two-member NIA team led by an officer of the rank of a deputy superintendent of police arrived in Malkangiri on Sunday to identify the 13 Maoists killed on Saturday’s encounter and ascertain if some of them were involved in the Chhattisgarh massacre,” a highly placed source in the intelligence wing of the state police said on Monday.

Last Saturday,  Director-General (DG) of Odisha police Prakash Mishra had said that some of the slain Maoists had a role in the Chhattisgarh incident.

His claim was based on some intelligence inputs gathered by the state police just before the ambush of the 13 ultras by a team of the Special Operation Group (SOG) jawans led by young Malkangiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Akhileswar Singh.
The Odisha government has already announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh each for the jawans who had participated in the Saturday’s encounter.

Unprecedented

Never before had the state police encountered 13 Maoists at one go.

Police sources said that of the 13 slain ultras, only four had so far been identified and all of them belong to different villages in Malkangiri district bordering Chhattisgarh.

The process is on to hand over the bodies to their families.

Another police team from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has also arrived in Malkangiri to assist the Odisha police in the identification process.

 The woman Maoist killed in the encounter is believed to be from a village in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, a combing operation by security forces is still on in and around the spot where the encounter took place early on Saturday morning as the police suspect that some of the Maoists had sustained serious injuries in the gun battle and they might be hiding in the jungles nearby.

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