Ranchi, Jan. 4: In a twin blow to Maoists, security personnel today arrested one of its self-styled area commanders in Garhwa and hauled a 50kg can bomb in neighbouring Latehar district.
Maoist area commander Vinayji (25), alias Sunil Yadav alias Sunil Ram, was rounded up from Kailan forest in Garhwa. He had a countrymade revolver on him. SP Richard Lakra said a list of contractors whom he had extorted was also recovered.
In a separate raid, security forces recovered a can bomb — powerful enough to blow up an anti-landmine vehicle — in Jobnatand, about 106km from the state capital under sadar police station area of Latehar.
Latehar SP Kuldeep Dwivedi said before the recovery, the Maoists had tried to draw security personnel close to the bomb by engaging them in an encounter. “Around 8am, Maoist rebels engaged a team of security personnel from CRPF’s 11th Battalion and district armed police in a 10-minute gun battle and then fled,” said Dwivedi.
The unusually brief skirmish prompted security personnel to cordon off the area for a careful search, which yielded the crude pressure bomb after four hours.
“The bomb was camouflaged well. It was buried underground on the side of Ranchi-Daltonganj Road, as security personnel avoid roads fearing landmines. The wire was sticking out,” he said.
According to Dwivedi, such a potentially fatal trap was nothing new. “In July last year, Maoists had targeted security personnel by planting bombs beside the road in the same way. That attempt was also foiled,” he said.
The recovered bomb was not defused till the time of filing this report, but preparations were in progress.
Latehar is a known Maoist hotbed. On September 16, 2010, Maoists had abducted a district supply officer when he was conducting a health camp at Pagar village, about 60km from the district headquarters in Manika block.
On July 8 last year, Maoists had blown up two relay rooms at Hehegara halt, 130km from the capital and about 30km from district headquarters under Barwadih area of the district, claiming the life of a Jharkhand Jaguar assistant sub-inspector.