Naidu-attack Maoist killed in forest

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By G.S. RADHAKRISHNA in Hyderabad
  • Published 24.05.09

Hyderabad, May 24: Maoist leader Patel Sudhakar Reddy, an accused in the assassination attempt on former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, was today shot dead by police in Andhra Pradesh.

Sudhakar, who was in his fifties, was a member of the CPI (Maoists) central committee and was its Karnataka in-charge.

Another senior Maoist, Venkatayya, a district committee member of the Warangal unit of the NTR (north Telengana region) zone of the rebels, was also killed in the encounter. However, 20-25 Maoists escaped.

District police superintendent V.C. Sajjanar said three firearms, including an AK-47 rifle, and three kit bags were found at the encounter site in the Lavavalla forest of Warangal district.

“Our regular patrolling force chanced upon the Maoists hiding in the forests and during the exchange of fire, two were killed while the others fled,” he said.

The encounter is a blow to the efforts of the CPI (Maoists) to strengthen the movement against the YSR government in Andhra, whom its secretary Ganapathi last month accused of “cheating” the Maoists “in the name of dialogue in 2004”.

Sudhakar, also known as Suryam, Damodar and Venkatesh, carried a prize of Rs 12 lakh on his head.

He was an accused in blasts that killed senior police officers K.S. Vyas and Umesh Chandra and home minister Madhav Reddy and was also alleged to be involved in the attack on former chief minister N. Janardhan Reddy in Nellore district in 2007.

Janardhan Reddy had escaped unhurt, but Chandrababu Naidu had been hit in the 2003 landmine blast. Police say he survived because the explosives were of low quality.

Sudhakar, an engineer and gold medallist from Osmania University, had made a PowerPoint presentation on the blast that could hit Chandrababu Naidu’s vehicle, police officials said.

He was also said to be behind the Balimela ambush of Greyhound commandos in June 2008, in which at least 30 jawans were killed when their boat was attacked.

Ranked alongside Ganapathi and Ganesh, the secretary and provincial secretary of the CPI (Maoists), he was the south India chief of the central military commission of the CPI (Maoists) and in charge of their arms dumps in Karnataka. He had joined the movement in 1981.

Sudhakar was also part of a team that procured firearms and organised the manufacture of rifles, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft artillery, claymore mines and grenades.

After the seizure of rocket launchers in Andhra in 2005, the Maoists had shifted their arms dumps to Karnataka and Maharashtra, the police said. It was also around this time that the Maoists had been pushed out of Andhra into the forests of Chhattisgarh.

Of late, the rebels were trying to regain control of the Andhra region. The Maoists were active in the Andhra-Orissa border area during the elections and have been trying to gain control over the Nallamala forest zone.

Sudhakar, who hailed from Mahbubnagar, is survived by his wife, son and four brothers.

Civil rights activist C. Prabhakar has accused the police of arresting Patel Sudhakar Reddy in the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border area, bringing him to Warangal and shooting him dead.