The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal link in Jehanabad raid

Calcutta, Nov. 24: Maoists from Bengal apparently played a big hand in the rebel strike on Jehanabad jail.

Details emerging from the interrogation of two top CPI (Maoist) functionaries held in Jharkhand last week and a diary and CDs recovered from them suggest that guerrillas active in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore played a vital role in the planning and storming of the Bihar prison. At least 340 inmates fled during the assault.

Some of the plotters of that offensive are now planning the murder of top Bengal officials, police said today.

The diary and CDs found have apparently proved that some of Bengal police's worst fears were not unfounded.

According to the plan being hatched, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's chief security officer and two police stations in Bankura would be attacked within a week. 'A.K. Maliwal, security director and chief security and liaison officer to the chief minister, tops the hit list. The second name we found was that of Anil Mahato, a CPM leader and secretary of the party's local committee at Banspahari (in West Midnapore),' said a police officer.

Explaining why the Maoists would target Maliwal, an officer of inspector-general rank, an officer said: 'It will be like throwing a challenge to the government.'

The guerrillas have targeted Anil Mahato because they suspect he has become a police informer, a source said.

As news of the renewed threat reached Writers' Buildings, the authorities of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia ' all hotbeds of CPI (Maoist) activities ' were alerted and leaves of policemen cancelled.

The arrested Maoists 'identified as Yudhisthir Singh and Bhola Prasad ' were picked up from Jamshedpur on Friday. Apart from the diary and CDs, the police found two pairs of army uniform and wireless sets in their possession.

When Jharkhand police could not decipher most of the diary's content, written in Bengali, they got in touch with their Bengal counterparts.

The CDs contained the recording of a meeting that was addressed by Koteshwar Rao, better known as Kishanji, who is in charge of the rebel activities in Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand. The venue is believed to be a forest in the Dalma Range on the Bengal-Jharkhand border and the timer shows that it was held in October.

Seeing the video, the police are certain that the plan for the Jehanabad strike was hatched there. 'We suspect that many of the attackers who executed the plan were from Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore,' a senior officer said.

He added: 'Key leaders from Dandakaranya in Orissa participated in the meeting. Members of the rebels' action squad in West Midnapore's Belpahari, Purulia's Bandwan and Bankura's Ranibandh were also there. We saw the faces of those who took part in the strikes that killed Barikul police station officer-in-charge Prabal Sengupta and Mahendra Mahato, a CPM leader of Bandwan, on July 9.'

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