The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed the charge sheet yesterday against 33 cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in relation to the assassination of BJP MLA Bheema Mandavi in Chhattisgarh last year. The charge sheet was filed in a special NIA court in Jagdalpur under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act.
According to NIA spokesperson, six out of the 33 accused, namely Madka Ram Tati, Bhima Ram Tati, Linge Tati, Laxman Jaisawal, Ramesh Kumar Kashyap and Haripal Singh Chauhan, belong to Dantewada in Chhattisagarh and have been arrested. Five of the accused are dead while the remaining 22 are absconding. The six arrested accused had allegedly provided shelter, food, logistic support, electric wires and steel containers to the naxals.
Mandavi and Four Police Personnel had died in the IED blast
In April, 2019 MLA Mandavi was killed along with four security personnel of Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) in an IED blast which was followed by indiscriminate firing near Shyamgiri village in Dantewala. The assailants had looted the arms and ammunition of the slain CAF personnel. The case was re-registered by the NIA on May 17, 2019 but the investigation was initiated not before March 17, 2020 due to certain legal issues that were raised by the Congress government in Chhattisgarh.
How the Conspiracy was Hatched
According to an NIA official, the decision to assassinate Mandavi was taken in December 2018 in West Bastar at Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) level meeting. In another meeting held in the end of February, 2019 in the Gonderas Forest area of South Bastar at Darbha Division Committee level, headed by Giri Reddy who is a member of the DKSZC and in-charge of Darbha Division, it was decided to kill Mandavi along with other political leaders and police personnel as part of Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) with the objective to disrupt elections.
The Secretary of Darbha Division Committee Bada Deva was appointed the overall in-charge for carrying out the objectives of the TCOC. As per the conspiracy, the occasion of the annual fair in Shyamgiri village was chosen as the Maoist leaders thought that prominent political leaders would be attending it. Cadres of the CPI (Maoist) were mobilised who placed the IED on the Nakulnar-Bacheli road near Shyamgiri village. According to NIA official, there was active involvement of the top leadership of the CPI (Maoist) including its general secretary Nambala Keshava Rao in the conspiracy.