In a major breakthrough, a Bengaluru-based key CPI (Maoist) operative, who was allegedly acting as a spokesperson of the outlawed outfit and engaged in propaganda through social media, has been arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police, an official said today.
He had links with senior Maoist leaders active in the country and abroad, and also with some Maoist sympathisers, including those recently arrested by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence, the police official said.
"Abhay, who was under the scanner of the Bastar police and the State Intelligence Branch (SIB) for the last one-and-a-half years, was rounded up from Delhi airport on June 1," Inspector General (IG) of Police (Bastar range) Vivekananda Sinha told PTI.
He was brought to Bastar district headquarter Jagdalpur on the same day. He will be in police custody till tomorrow and will be presented in court, the IG said.
"During a search of his residence in Bengaluru, police have seized laptops, pen drives, a hard disk, Maoist literature and several diaries which confirmed that Abhay was associated with some Maoist leaders and sympathisers overseas as well as in India," he said.
"He was in touch via e-mails with alleged over ground Maoist cadres such as JNU alumnus Rona Wilson and retired Nagpur University professor Soma Sen, who were recently arrested by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence that took place in January.
"He was also in touch with former Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba and Maoist leaders like Gudsa Usendi, Vikalp (Dandakarnya Special Zonal Committee), Sashi Patnaik from Odisha and others," Sinha said.
The official said Abhay's name first surfaced as a Maoist spokesperson early last year after an IED was recovered in the Darbha region of Bastar along with some Maoist literature and pamphlets.
The recovered Maoist pamphlets were issued by Abhay along with another Maoist spokesperson Vikalp, following which police had launched a search for him, he said.
"Abhay, who is tech-savvy, was active on social media while keeping his identity confidential. He had been allegedly propagating the Maoist ideology through his writings, press releases and articles on the social media platforms," he said.
"He had been using social media platforms to attract the youth towards the outlawed outfit though his anti-national, anti-government and anti-police posts," Sinha claimed.
The SIB and Bastar police had been jointly keeping an eye on him for the last one-and-a-half years, during which it found that he had visited at least 15 foreign countries, such as Belgium, United Kingdom, France and Russia in February and May in 2017
He had also travelled to socially and financially backward countries, which are part of the Co-ordination Committee of Maoists Party and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA), he said.
"On the request of the Bastar police, a look-out notice had been issued against Abhay in May 2017 and when he returned to India on June 1 after spending about a year abroad, he was held in Delhi," the IG said.
His interrogation revealed that during his studies, he was influenced by literature of Karnataka state committee secretary of CPI(M) Saket Rajan and his activities following which he had gone through Maoist literature thoroughly.
"During the same period, he came in contact with Maoist sympathisers and over-ground Maoist cadres," he said.
In view of the technical expertise of Abhay and his ideological knowledge and the ability to spread the ideology through social media, he was assigned the responsibility of propaganda bureau of Maoists, the IG said.
"He was earlier issuing press releases in the name of spokesperson 'Aazad' and later 'Abhay'. His signature is being examined," he said.
Abhay had also visited Bastar twice and the possibility cannot be ruled out that he had met senior Maoist leaders active in the region, he said.
Abhay was also made the member of CCOMPOSA after his propaganda turned successful and yielded results. He had allegedly created a virtual group for maintaining coordination between Maoist organisations active in South Asia and propagating Maoist ideology, the official said.
"He was allegedly getting funds for these activities and huge transactions were reported from his bank accounts, which are now under the scanner," the IG said.
Investigations and documents recovered so far reveal that Abhay had been instrumental in promoting Maoist ideology and spreading anti-country and anti-government contents in social media, he said.
"During the interrogation, he has disclosed crucial information about over-ground Maoist operatives, which will facilitate the arrest of cadres functioning in urban areas," the IG said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)