Bhubaneswar: A DVF jawan and a top Maoist leader were killed in a gun battle in a forest in Odisha’s Malkangiri district Wednesday, a senior police officer said.
Another jawan was also critically injured in the encounter that took place during a joint combing operation by Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF), the Director General of Police (DGP) BK Sharma said.
The deceased Maoist, identified as Rakesh Sodhi, carried a reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head. He was camping along with a group of left wing extremists in Pakanguda forest in Bonda Ghat area, where the exchange of fire took place, he said.
A resident of Sukuma district of neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Sodhi was a top leader of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of Maoists and commander of a military platoon of the banned CPI (Maoist), the DIG of Police of South Western Range, Shafeen Ahmed, said.
The operation, led by Superintendent of Police of Malkangiri, Rishikesh D Khilari, was launched in the hilly forest area under the jurisdiction of Mudulipada police station following information about presence of Maoists in the forest, Ahmed said.
The Maoists opened fire at the SOG and DVF men after noticing them and the security personnel retaliated. During the exchange of fire, a DVF jawan was killed and another was seriously injured, the DIG said.
Though Sodhi, the Maoist leader, was gunned down during the encounter, other red rebels fled and disappeared into the dense forest, he said, adding, it is suspected that some of the ultras received injuries.
The Maoist camp where the ultras were hiding was destroyed during the operation.
The deceased Maoist was allegedly involved in many incidents of voilence and attacks on security forces in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Two rifles, including an AK-47, some ammunition and other materials were recovered from the site, a police officer said.
The combing operation has been intensified inside the forest after the encounter and Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have also been mobilsed in the area, police said.
The deceased DVF jawan was identified as Jaisingh Kabasi and the injured jawan, Ramsingh Durua, has been sent to Visakhapatnam.