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Azad claims intelligence agencies of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh conspired to falsely arrest him though he had surrendered
Bhubaneswar: Maoist D Keshav Rao alias Azad, who has been lodged in the Special Jail at Jharpada here since 2011, claimed his detention was illegal and that the intelligence agencies of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh conspired to falsely arrest him though he had surrendered.
After being a Maoist for 19 years and having risen to the rank of secretary of Bansadhara division, “Azad (37), of Nalla Bodduluru village in Srikakulam district, surrendered before DGP Aravinda Rao in presence of Palasa MLA Juttu Jagannaikulu in Hyderabad on 18-05-2011”, according to a certificate (C.No.535/SB-II (F)/2011), dated December 12, 2011, issued by the superintendent of police, Srikakulam.
Azad was interrogated by crime branch officials of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh for 10 days in Hyderabad after his surrender. He was let go May 28, 2011, with the assurance that he could lead a normal life with his mother D Kamullama.
However, he had hardly had spent a night at home when the then Palasa MP, his guarantor, told him Orissa Police officials had come to interrogate him. “The MP asked me to come to the DSP office in the car he had sent at 8 am. He said Andhra Pradesh police are calling it a procedural formality and I could go home in two or three days,” Azad told Orissa Post.
“I told them my son had already been interrogated by Orissa Police but they said Azad should cooperate,” Kamullama said.
Azad was brought to the state May 29 by a team of Orissa police including then special intelligence wing (SIW) DSP Uma Shankar Panda, CID(CB) inspector Manoj Kumar Samanta, CID(CB) SI HK Behera and SOG jawan Milan.
Azad said he was taken to Keonjhar and kept at the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) guest house. Orissa Police charged him June 1 in 2011, for the murder of Swami Laxmanand and the loot of the Nayagarh armoury.
When Azad was produced before the Nayagarh sessions court the prosecution alleged that he had come to the city to meet his wife and was arrested while he was loitering near Jharpada jail.
Azad said he has no wife and had surrendered with the idea of getting married and settling down. “For 19 years, I lived a life of secrecy and wanted to be a part of mainstream,” said Azad, who had left home in 1992 at the age of 14 while a school student to join the People’s War Group.
The then Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, had written in his letter to Jagannaikulu in 2012 that he would “look into the release of Azad as he surrendered before the DGP, AP.”
Six years on, Azad’s cases are yet to go on trial. Nine cases have so far have been registered under various sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities Act at different police stations of Nayagarh. After four years of his arrest, police filed chargesheet in five cases. When Azad applied for bail in those cases, the police slapped another four. “They justified fresh cases against me on the ground that they got witness only later,” he said.
The Andhra Pradesh government has paid Azad `10 lakh when he surrendered as part of its surrender and rehabilitation policy for Maoists. “Money is of no use to me if they are going to keep me behind bars all my life,” Azad said.
Azad said he had been given this name by the state and that there has been only one Azad in the Naxal movement, Cherukuri Rajkumar who was killed by Andhra Pradesh police in an encounter in 2010. “I never worked for the military wing of the organisation. I was part of the committee that promoted the political agenda,” Azad said.
Kamulamma filed RTI before Orissa Police in December 2015 asking for the PT warrant, seizure list and the names of witnesses connected to the arrest of her son. The RTI was transferred to SIW by Orissa police which replied: “This office is exempted from supplying any information under RTI Act.”