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City shelter for rebels on deadly mission

Calcutta, June 26: Top Naxalite leaders apparently met at a city hotel early this month to draw up a hit list.

An IPS officer and three officers of the deputy superintendent rank are said to have featured on the dossier they prepared.

Police sources said the CPI (Maoist) extremists have adopted a resolution to eliminate West Midnapore police chief Ajay Nand, deputy superintendent of the CID's special operations group Subhankar Chatterjee, Intelligence Branch deputy superintendent Humayun Kabir and Shyam Singh, the West Midnapore deputy superintendent, operations.

The decision, ratified by the Naxalite outfit's 'Calcutta central committee', was circulated to its district and zonal committees with a set of instructions ' including one to implement the decision at the earliest.

'The meeting, on June 3, was presided by Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanji, a top-level leader from Andhra Pradesh who is the chief of the extremists' action squad, which operates in Bengal and Jharkhand. The members were asked to execute the decision as soon as possible,' said a police officer.

After the meeting, the CPI (Maoist) central committee prepared the five-page instruction manual for the district and zonal committee members. 'It was undersigned in the name of Bimal, Kishanji's code name,' the officer said.

The sources said the details of the meeting came to light during the interrogation of four 'key members of the Calcutta committee' who were picked up from different parts of the city on June 16.

Dipanjan Mukherjee and Kanika Debnath were held from Ultadanga and Jorabagan in north Calcutta and Sabyasachi Goswami was detained from Khardah on the northern fringes of the city.

The next day, Special Branch officials rounded up Kanika's husband Arup from somewhere in east Calcutta.

'The documents recovered from their possession revealed their future plans, including killing policemen. The Naxalites have these days changed their action plan in the wake of intensified vigil,' said a CID officer.

A home department official said security has been tightened for the officials whose names feature on the hit list.

After going through documents seized from the arrested rebels, the police have realised that the rebels are often a few steps ahead of them.

'The top level of the organisation knows every detail of the governments' strategy. They know that the Indian Air Force has allotted eight helicopters for Chhattisgarh police to combat Naxalites. They also know the names of the officers who have been given the specific task of tackling the extremists,' an officer said.

'They also know how we communicate with our counterparts with the help of the Internet and satellite phones.'

Another officer said the heat had been stepped up on the rebels in West Midnapore with the allocation of fresh funds and personnel. 'A special force involving 14 officers was set up on June 2 to combat the Maoists. Earlier, Rs 13 lakh was allotted for the district,' an officer said. Some former rebels are now paid between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000 for tip-offs.

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