Bhopal, Jan. 16: You’ve heard of cops working undercover. In Madhya Pradesh, they have literally gone under cover.
Six days after the state’s police busted an illegal arms factory in Bhopal, seized a huge cache of arms and arrested eight members of the CPI (Maoist), top officials of the force are shedding their uniforms.
They fear the banned outfit would retaliate.
Police sources said all the officers who played a key role in the raid have been asked to wear civilian clothes. In capital Bhopal, police officials of the rank of superintendent and deputy inspector-general have removed nameplates at their residences. Cars that have flags and stars showing the rank of the officer have been withdrawn.
All police personnel have been instructed not to venture out without weapons while the office of the crime branch has been turned into a fortress.
Last Thursday, the state police had unearthed the arms factory in the Satnami Nagar area near a plant of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited. The factory has reportedly been running for the last three years.
ADG (intelligence) S.K. Raut said the Naxalites arrested during the raid carried rewards on their heads in Andhra Pradesh and were in direct touch with Ganpati, the commanding chief of the outfit’s central committee.
Raut said interrogations have so far revealed that the factory was installed in Bhopal to avoid suspicion as the city does not fall in the Naxalite belt. Most of the rebels, they said, had shifted base to Chhattisgarh, the state carved out after Madhya Pradesh was bifurcated in 1999.
Investigators said the arrested rebels had reportedly been sending huge consignments of guns, rocket launchers, mortars and other weapons to their counterparts in Chhattisgarh, while women were hired as carriers because they aroused less suspicion.
The sources said steel and other raw material used at the factory came from Indore.