Top Maoist leader who headed their weapons development and research wing arrested in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra police on Friday arrested senior Maoist leader Ramanna a.k.a Vitthalanna Madru from Ballarshah town in the state’s Chandrapur district. The police also managed to arrest the wife of the 65 year old leader.

They were arrested at the Ballarpur station based on a tip-off by Gadchiroli police, after which the Chandrapur police brought them to the former’s jurisdiction. They were believed to be heading for Telangana for reasons yet unknown.

Ramanna who carried a Rs 25 lakh bounty on his head, was an expert gun maker and headed the Maoist’s research and development wing of arms. Before being arrested he was the member of CPI (Maoist)’s Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee. Such an arrest makes him the first Maoist of such a high cadre to be caught alive.

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Ramanna is believed to have been working for the Maoists since 1975 and assumed the responsibility of their technical wing in 1995. Since 1996 he has worked in Maoist hotbeds like Kondagoan, Maad, Tipagarh, Aheri and Bastar.

Apart from manufacturing weapons, Ramanna was also involved in imparting weapons training to young Maoist cadres.

His wife, Padma Kodape, too carried a bounty on her head which amounted to Rs 6 lakh, and is speculated to have been working for the Maoists since 1992. She has been accused of contributing to Maoist attacks in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Incidentally, the reports carrying this news also claim that differences had arisen between Ramanna and central committee members, who he alleged had prevented his membership to the committee.

This arrest comes in the light of the Maoist influence in the country shrinking to a mere 58 districts in light of a renewed counterinsurgency plan.

Under this plan, the security forces are backed by real-time intelligence via the use of modern tech like drones. It also involves coordinated day and night operations by security personnel, which allows Maoists to be targeted deep in the jungle.

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