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Escape architect back in jail, cops cautious

Patna, Feb. 4: Maoist commander Ajay Kanu alias Raviji was today booked under the Arms Act and remanded in judicial custody.

On the same day, a bomb was seized from a train and a bandh observed in parts of Bihar even as an alert was sounded apprehending attacks by the CPI(Maoist) to protest Kanu’s arrest.

“The police arrested Ajay Kanu with a revolver and six live cartridges on Friday and lodged a case against him under the Arms Act,” said inspector-general of police (operations) S.K. Bhardwaj, refusing to get into the details.

The Naxalite leader, who was freed by comrades during the Jehanabad jailbreak on November 13, 2005, was sent to Gaya Central Jail after being produced in a local court.

Railway Protection Force personnel, meanwhile, found a bomb in a compartment of the Hatia-Patna Express at Jehanabad where the Naxalites had given a bandh call. The bomb was later defused.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the Naxalite-hit districts when the report was written.

“Ajay Kanu was arrested from near the Tankuppa police outpost in Gaya district,” said director-general of police A.R. Sinha. A joint operation of the special task force, Bihar police and central intelligence led to the arrest of the commander who had an award of Rs 5 lakh on his head and is wanted in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh as well. “He is on top of the priority list of the security forces,” said home secretary Afzal Amanullah.

The police, it has been learnt, are treading cautiously because of Kanu’s “proven skill and strength to organise cadre and turn the tables on security forces at will.”

Security personnel recall how the senior Maoist, who had been lodged in the Jehanabad jail, got hold of an AK-47 smuggled inside the prison and “started firing with precision”, killing one Bare Sharma and escaping with dozens of other Naxalites on the night of November 13.

Sources said the high-profile Maoist was taken to the Bihar Military Police guesthouse in Patna — which was guarded by CRPF and BSF jawans — for interrogation. He was shifted to Gaya last night under tight security.

Officials involved in the interrogation said Kanu admitted having played a key role in the jailbreak plan. “It was a three-month preparation during which I stayed in touch with comrades trained in guerrilla warfare. It culminated in the freedom of several inmates in November,” a sleuth quoted Kanu as saying.

“But he has so far not revealed anything important to help operations in the Naxalite areas,” the sleuth added.

Bhardwaj said Jehanabad police would take the arrested Maoist leader on remand for further interrogation.

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